I Was A Middle Aged Writer

March 24, 2009

Writing Work, Writing, and Waiting

Filed under: writing — danielrdavis @ 9:41 pm
Tags: , , , ,


A number of things to gab about today.  The first is that I’m revising a film script, officially, like for money.  I’m rather happy about this because it’ll be the first official rewrite I’ve done.  It should take me about two weeks to finish the rewrite, provided that’s all I work on, which means my other projects are on hold.  I won’t go into what the script is about, but it will be interesting.  I’ve sent them the first 5 pages to make sure they want me to do it.  After that I’ll give them a price.  It won’t be much because they don’t have much of a budget and one of my acquaintances is helping produce it so I’ll likely give him a deal.

Next order of business, being a writer.  This is something I touched on somewhere else in another discussion, but I’ve been thinking about it for a while.  I am a writer.  I consider myself a writer.  I always have.  Some opinions are that you aren’t considered a writer until you actually complete something.  Honestly, I have completed a few things; short stories mostly, but I have completed some things.  Even when I hadn’t I still always considered myself a writer, and there’s a reason for this.

To coin a phrase from Throw Momma From The Train, A writer writes, always.  I’m not sure if someone else said it first, but it’s very true, no matter who said it.  Whether it’s an essay, a short story, a novel, script, or even a blog, a writer is always writing something.  They can’t help it.  It’s a compulsion.  When we’re not trying to write the next great novel we’re blogging about it.  When we’re not blogging about it we’re trying to finish the next short story or the next script.  When we’re not doing that we’re trying to compose the perfect letter of inquiry to best sell what we’ve written.  It’s never-ending.  And we have to do it.  I think there’s something in our genetic makeup that makes us want to do it, no matter how frustrating it is at times.

It has noting to do with the possibility of money (from what many authors say it’s likely we won’t ever make more than some extra comfort money).  It’s usually not about fame, though some do like the fans who do end up coming to their book signings, no matter how few there may be.  We have a story to write, a tale to tell, and we feel the need to tell it.  Will I be like those writers they show in movies that write a bestseller and and suddenly move on up to that deluxe apartment in the sky?  Probably not.  Will I get a mansion and get to hang out with movie stars and other bestselling and more famous authors?  Likely, no.  What I will do is tell my tale, obstacles bedamned.  And yes, I will sit down with the finished novel and read the thing, I’m silly like that.

This is also why I have no problem with self-publishing.  Some would say that if you are only into writing novels as a hobby then it’s fine to self-publish, but I’m not 100% in agreement.  Others say that you’re just a wannabe writer/novelist if you cop out and self publish, but again, I can’t agree.  If you’re willing to put in the time, effort, legwork and money to sell your tale then self-publishing may work for you.  After all, to be quite honest, from what I’ve heard the publishing company isn’t even really going to promote your book, unless you are one of those few who hit a massive bestseller that sells a million copies out of the gate.  Sure, they’ll put your books in big chains like B&N or Borders and such, but it’s still up to you to promote it, no matter what shelf it ends up on.  And, on top of all that, they get the lion’s share of your hard work.  So far, I’m not seeing the incentive.

However, It would be awesome to say you’ve been picked up by this company or that company and book deals for a number of novels or a number of years, etc.  That brings stability.  You know your next book will be picked up.  There’s also definitely appeal in saying you went the route of various other authors and got accepted.  It’s a feeling like you’re now with the “in-crowd,” secret handshake forthcoming.  You can get to meet and make friendships or acquaintances and connections with various people in the publishing industry and also learn a bit about how things are done as well.  This, I feel would be a good thing for a writer.  Still, if you want the bulk of the money you make for your writing, you’re not likely to get it through mainstream publishing, so I’ve heard.

Now, before I go farther and people start calling me a staunch defender of people who aren’t good enough to make it in the mainstream market (yep, I’ve heard that line before), keep in mind that a good deal of the money you get for your books while self publishing will most likely go back into promotion (the books won’t sell themselves, no matter how good the story may be), travel, and POD company payments.  And unless you go with a company like Lightning Source, you’re also most likely not going to get your novel in mainstream stores like B&N and Borders.  Honestly, in self publishing (another reason why I can’t agree with it being a hobby) you’re going to have to do even more legwork to get yourself out there than you would if you were picked up by a publishing company.  So that right there shows a certain level of dedication to your craft beyond it just being a hobby.

Either way you go, do it with eyes open and dedication to getting it done.  If you’re 100% behind it and willing to go the distance to get there, you’re much more likely to succeed.

So anyway, a writer writes.  A novelist or author, however, has finished something that’s as close as they can get it to a publishable product.  And there’s where I draw the distinction.  There’s the difference.  You’re a writer because you write, but you’re a *novelist* when you finish that next great novel and it’s out of your head and onto the page from start to finish.  And no matter what approach you take to publish it, it’s your heart and soul, a piece of you that you poured and sometimes tore out and placed onto the page.  Don’t let anyone degrade or denounce that because of their own beliefs.  Because opinions are like buttholes. Everyone has one and thinks everyone else’s stinks.

Now onto another bit of news.  I heard recently that my RPG supplement will be out soon.  Well, it was said that it would be this quarter, but this quarter is nearly over with no sign, so I’m dubious.  This is the supplement that took a lot of research and time to make and I’ve been waiting to see in book form for the past couple years now.  Before I created that supplement I knew a little bit about pirates.  Now I know far more than anyone who is not a scholar or historical reenactor should have to.  It’s an awesome book and I hope it will be well received, but it has to come out first.  I’m ready for closure on that front.  I hope it’s soon.

And with that we’re done.  The next post will most likely be about the trials and tribulations of rewriting a film script, but that’s for another time…approximately two weeks or so from now.



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