As anyone who does it regularly will tell you, writing is a curious business. It is after all, one of the few activities where you can spend weeks, months or even years baring your soul only to then throw it out into the public domain where people you don’t know will quite possibly, and often happily, tear you to shreds.
Unattractive a prospect as this might be, writing professionally is even worse. For in addition to the above, you also face the joyous prospect of starving.
Having been doing it for over 20 years now and with a girth which suggests that it might actually do me good to miss a meal or two (OK, three or four), I think it’s safe to say that malnutrition is not something I need worry about any more but that does not mean I don’t face other concerns. Indeed, I have one right now and it’s one I need to address, and fast. It is, quite simply, what book to write next.
The problem is compounded by the fact that whatever decision I take will not be driven by a deadline but will in fact, be a spec project. As such, I get to choose it for myself which is fine until you consider the stark truth that not only do I have to ensure that I’m going to enjoy writing it, but that there is going to be a market for it. Trust me, the two are not necessarily the same thing.
I also face the problem of having three, possibly four distinct projects in mind all of which are totally different from the other. Two of those being sequels which have already been started but which fell victim to the demands of scripts which required urgent attention.
So do I, for example, finish the third book in the The Crew/Top Dog trilogy or do I carry on with the follow on from Billy’s Log?? Or do I venture into new genre, possibly with the supernatural thriller which has recently taken root in my increasingly confused brain?
Whatever it is, I need to make a decision and fast or I face the very real prospect of doing pretty much nothing. Which has its merits, but doesn’t pay the bills.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it’s a tough job being a professional writer. But it’s even tougher being me.
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