Maybe I’ll just stop submitting.

Today I seriously considered giving up writing for good. For about three seconds. Maybe a minute. I’m tired of submitting my book-length poetry manuscript (Dark matter) and having it not make the grade. I love that manuscript. I’m proud of it. I’m tired of submitting my chapbook of sonnets (Cloud studies) and my chapbook of prose poems (Glimpse). I’m tired of trying to find a home for my sci-fi lit novel (The Quantum Archives). Even when a poetry manuscript gets accepted, it doesn’t really sell. Maybe twenty people read it. And then I checked up on the stats for my romance novel (it’s under a pen name and hell no I’m not telling you what it is) and it’s not selling anymore. I haven’t even made enough on it to buy groceries for a month (I have two teenage boys that eat a ton but still). So I seriously thought: why am I doing this?

I thought about all the time I would have if I stopped writing: I could actually finish painting my bedroom or weed my rose garden. I could ride my bicycle every day. Go to the movies. And then I thought about how much I hated ladders and weeding and the future stretched ahead of me empty and rattling. What the hell would I do with myself if I stopped writing? So. I’m almost done writing a new romance novel and I have an idea for another sci-fi book that is so cool I’ve been dreaming about it. And there are those notes for the funny memoir and the next romance novel (mostly plotted out in my head) .

I guess I won’t quit. I like writing better than painting or weeding. Better than pretty much everything else I could do. I’ve worked in offices: I won’t even get into my passive aggressive clothing choices (let’s just say the incident with the tie-dyed tights was not a one-time thing). And I love words. Metaphors get me all jazzed up.

Maybe I’ll just stop submitting.

9 thoughts on “Maybe I’ll just stop submitting.

  1. I know the feeling. It never crossed my mind I could stop writing, but I sometimes consider not submitting my work anymore. Who in their right mind would prefer weeding to writing?! 😉

  2. Well now here we are being social poets talking about the literary zeitgeist, so totally in-group…I think for the first time ever there's a valid mechanism for cutting out the middle man — just putting everyone line, and self-publishing print-on-demand books to faithful readers. Kind of like the post-Napster small musician business model. And if the blog gets popular enough, you can throw up a few ads and make money that way, too. Though of course it's really about having an outlet for your creativity — and in that regard this model works so much better anyway.

  3. There's the possibility of income in everything, I think — we just have to think of books as merch instead of books. If you've been reading an enjoying a chapter a week from an author's blog, and you love the book, wouldn't you buy a hardcopy in the end? And if everyone was buying your hardcopy, wouldn't a publisher be thrilled that you already have a platform and audience, and be more likely to pay you to publish your book? Plus there's all the revenue from online traffic. I'm not saying it's much, but making much has always been a crapshoot — 99 out of 100 books lose money, and it's just that one hit that subsidizes the rest. It's a pretty crappy model, no matter what genre you're writing in.

  4. I would definitely buy a book if I liked what I read online, except I know that not everyone thinks that way. This is where we run afoul of class (yes, that dirty word in America). I grew up in a low-income, blue-collar class and many people I knew growing up would take the free stuff and never bother to buy a legal copy. Many people I know still do this. That's why the difficulty of making money from art exists and is getting worse in the digital era. In addition, illegal downloading is an incredibly difficult crime to track and stop.

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