I was tidying up my Facebook history and came across this, from Sep. 2008.. It seems I was going through something of an existential crisis with regards to my writing. These nine or more years later I can’t really remember feeling that low, but I suppose I must have been; I wrote this, after all…
I turned 50 this year. At the time, back in January, I though little of it, but slowly and steadily it’s been preying on me at the back of my mind.
It’s not that I mind getting older. Hell, I went mostly bald when I was 30, and grey when I was 40, so it’s not as if I didn’t see it coming.
No, what I mind is that I can hear the clock ticking. For most of my life until now I’ve been too busy living to notice, but I recently realised that my dreams and aspirations are no longer those of a young man looking ahead. They’re in danger of becoming the regrets of an old man looking back.
I still have the drive. I still want to write books, and have them read by a lot of people. But I’m wise enough to realise that the mass market deal I’ve been coveting is probably less rather than more likely to happen now. My view on life, tainted as it is by my experiences, is that of a middle aged man. Today’s fiction markets are full of youthful exuberance with their young fads I know little about and care even less.
The last novel rejection I had told me that I wrote well, but I needed more cultural references to connect with the readership demographic. I don’t know if I have the energy to try, never mind the will.
In two years time I’ll have been writing for twenty years. I’ve been asking myself, is a dozen pro story sales and a handful of small press novels enough for me? Can I lay down my pen, happy I did my best?
Or do I keep going, keep searching for that one sudden inspiration that will get me over the hump?
Truthfully, at the moment, I’m having trouble seeing a way forward.
I can still feel that clock ticking.
But if I’d given up then, I would have missed the best of my writing career so far. I wouldn’t have all the novel, novella and collection sales to Dark Regions, Dark Renaissance and DarkFuse among others, I wouldn’t have that shelf of hardcover editions of my work, I wouldn’t have a bookcase full of anthology appearances, and I would have missed out on another sixty or so ( so far) professional short story sales.
I wouldn’t have those 5 sales to Nature Futures, or the sales to ‘The Mammoth Book of…’ series.
And I wouldn’t be having fun writing Carnacki stories.
I’m bloody glad I didn’t give up.