One of the more, and I’m super hesitant to use this word but it’s appropriate, annoying aspects of pursuing a career (or second career) in writing are those moments when you have to decide on turning towards another destination.
It’s very obvious that writing is a risk for many reasons. You’re taking a very big chance on yourself and your abilities. From there, you’re hopeful other people will take those same chances. There are a lot of opportunities to slip, fall, learn, and screw up. That said, there are times where you need to identify what might be best for the project and not for your ego. As well written as anything we put together might be, sometimes those in the industry won’t respond to it – whether it’s because of market demands or a lack of relatability is all incredibly subjective.
This is an impossible field to predict and I think too often writers drive themselves insane over it.
Five years ago, I decided to pursue becoming a published writer. All this time later and I’ve certainly accomplished a lot for myself. Still, I’m a goal-oriented person and once I’ve climbed one mountain, I want to climb them all. I am never satisfied.
So what happens when all the work on a project musters no interest from agents or bigger publishers? It can be a difficult place to find yourself—especially as a marginalized writer uninterested in writing about marginalized pain on anyone else’s terms. Could I easily slap out some sad sack bullshit about growing up in the Bronx? Sure, but my heart wouldn’t be in that type of story. I’ve tried that path and it was painful and incredibly unfulfilling.
What’s come to help me is understanding that we have so many more options now. The loaded phrase “traditional publishing” is an albatross that too many writers hold in high esteem. There’s certainly merit in that route and we all want that route to be a path we follow, but we too often ignore all the little tributaries on that path. Artistic freedom—especially the freedom I want—cannot confine itself onto a straight path. I’d argue no writer has ever experienced that fantasy, but everyone’s mileage varies. I’m certain there are charmed people who have easily politicked their way onto a road of clear-sailing and more power to them.
Anyway, this rant isn’t mean to elicit pity or for me to wallow. I think I wanted to affirm my own commitment to my work and to getting it out in front of you fuckers by whatever means I can find. Everything else after that is icing on the cake.