Today, we’re tackling something that seems to be a rather large issue when it comes to writer morale.
Namely…”Should we bother?”
I guess, basically, that is morale.
It’s all over writing groups. People describe the general premise of their book, then ask other writers if it sounds like it would be worth the effort of writing it.
They site flooded markets and the use of the same tropes in a million other books. They claim that certain genres or markets are dead.
Some ask if people even bother reading nowadays, with all the instant gratification and high speed stimulation available in movies and tv shows and various things online.
They doubt whether the readers (or money) will be there.
First off…money shouldn’t be why you write. The odds of being a full time author are slim. We all know that. We just prefer to internalize our lack of a 6 figure writing income as being our own fault, our own shortcoming, for some masochistic reason or another.
We’re an anxious bunch. It happens.
But whether you think you’ll get rich off your books or not…shouldn’t decide whether you write them.
Writing, given how slim the odds are of being the next J.K. Rowling, is a labor of love.
So why not write what you love?
Pining away after that one idea, that one story that will get you rich…is a good way to never actually write a book. You’ll just sit there, repeatedly dismissing potentially amazing ideas, and never get down to the business of actually writing.
As for tropes that have been done before or flooded markets, obviously people like that kind of story. Plus, no matter how many other authors have written it, they don’t have your voice. Your unique compilation of experiences will shine light on different parts of the trope and cast shadows on other aspects.
And besides, if it’s what you want to write, who the fuck cares how many times it’s been written before?
Make it your own and it will be glorious.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, think your target market is dead?
Take it as a challenge.
Take advantage of the lower numbers of books in that genre. Be the one to revive it.
Now, as for the crap about people not reading anymore. People fucking read.
Go to Instagram. Search the tag #bookstagram and look at how many posts turn up. As of right now…39.8 million. Now, search #reading. 25 million posts. #amreading has a couple million.
All of them…are about reading. (And that’s just on Instagram.)
#amwriting has a few million posts.
#writingcommunity has 5.5 million.
I mention writing because do you know what all those authors are also doing? Especially when they’re procrastinating working on their own books?
Over a million books are published each year.
Now, that might be intimidating because your book is kinda just floating in a sea of words, but it’s also heartening.
Because most authors are also avid readers, consuming books left and right.
Who the fuck can write, knowing how much they and their writer friends love to read, and question whether people read? Do you not talk books with these people all the damn time?
Sure, since there are more people in the world, more people than in previous centuries have decided they don’t like reading. There are so many hobbies that exist now that weren’t even dreamed of a hundred years ago.
I mean, playing a video game on a phone a few centuries ago? Obviously not happening. You’d likely be thrown into what passed as a psychiatric hospital back then, or burned at the stake, for mention of a magical, flat brick that showed moving pictures and let you play a game with someone on the other side of the world.
But a higher population also means that more people are reading. A percentage of a larger number equals a higher number than the same percentage of a lower number.
Which sounds like I’m talking in circles. So, 20% (arbitrary number, pulled out of thin air) doesn’t sound like a lot. After all, 20% of 100 is only 20.
But 20% of a million?
20% of a billion?
You see my point. Now, I don’t know the percentage of adults that read on a regular basis. I couldn’t find current statistics.
But if one in five people reads, if one in twenty people reads regularly…across the entire world…that number is fucking huge.
And there’s bound to be a group within that number that will like your book.
So take heart.
And write whatever you fucking want.
There is someone out there who will want to read it.
Now. On the topic of writing. I’ve made progress on my own WIP. I’m hovering around the 35,000 word mark now, so up roughly 2,500 words from last week. I’ve been spending a lot of time on release prep for World for the Broken, ironing out details and such. It’s remarkable how many of those keep popping up.
It isn’t the amount of progress I’d hoped to be able to report, but I should probably be kinder to myself, given the toll my body has been taking on me.
That double ear infection from a couple weeks ago? Well, none of that stupid fluid in my inner ears actually drained. The infection cleared up, but all that swelling stayed put, holding that fluid in. So my ears have been ringing, I’ve had a nonstop, dull headache for several days (punctuated by sharper, shorter-lived headaches which felt like knife points), and I’ve been dealing with episodes of nausea-inducing vertigo that last anywhere from five minutes to twelve hours.
Of course, there were more doctor visits, and thus medicine. Lots of early mornings, because the rest of the world doesn’t abide by my nocturnal writing schedule. I honestly don’t know how much dramamine I had to take to be able to go to work this week without having a dizzy episode and falling into a machine.
But it’s improving. The dizziness is down to one or two episodes (lasting less than five minutes each) if I go too long without taking dramamine.
So, I’m on the mend.
And pushing forward.
Keep reading. Keep writing.