Trolling through the Twitter feeds this morning, I ran across a great post written by Ruthanne Reid and shared by Andi Lutz – Author. The post is titled 3 Essential Questions for Writers.
One of the questions is…Why do you write? Is it for money, fame…and goes on to list the usual stuff?
I don’t know about you, but that’s always been a hard one for me to answer.
Now I sure don’t give up the time from a busy life for money. Although I’ve had some limited success and sold a few stories here and there, it’s very little when you factor in webhosting and any advertising done over the course of a year, so it’s not for money.
It’s not fame either as there isn’t any, not for someone like me, anyway…a hybrid writer of sorts, both traditionally and self-published.
So what is it that keeps me—and probably hundreds of others like me—going? Writing, networking, sharing, reading other indie writers—when a big name has just dropped an anticipated novel—not to mention spending time with loved ones…for me its habit, and the only explanation that I can come up with by this point in the game.
Surely you remember being told that you had to write 500 words or a thousand or two thousand words a day to consider yourself a writer, right?
I was never one who listened much. I wrote what I wanted, when I felt like it and I’ve turned out a ton of work over the years. Hey…it’s worked for me? At last count—sometime last year—I had better than 50 stories published here in the U.S. and England. Not all of them paid as a considerable amount of them were in free crime zines and such getting started, which led to print anthologies and so on. There are a big handful of novella length stories and even a couple of full length novels floating around.
But back to the habit for a minute, after years of struggling just to see if I could get a story published somewhere…it became just that, a habit. Good or bad, it’s just something that I do. Now, I’m not going to miss out on life—believe me—but I’m prolific if nothing else and I’m going to get stories out there.
Keep in mind that TJ Adams is only a pseudonym, a pen name. A few of my writer buddies know that I do it, they follow me on various social media outlets and I’m sure they wonder why in the hell I would write smut when I could better spend my time writing crime or something else.
I’ll tell you. Some years ago, I wrote what ended up being published as a long, short story last year. After a few years of struggling with the story, rewrites and having trusted friends take a look and such, it found a home with a traditional publisher. That should have been a Whew-Hew moment, right? I should have been fist-pumping the air and proud to finally have it out there. For some weird reason, the story meant something to me, enough that I was willing to keep working with it.
The problem is…the story was a failure. It has sold a few copies and the reviews have been generally good, but I know better.
You see in this story, a father is telling his adult son of a somewhat sexual adventure that he’s had as a young man. The story itself wasn’t bad, but the way that I handled the interaction between this father (in his younger day) and the young woman involved, stunk. I’ve always wished to have an erotic writers grace and the ability to finesse a story along during a steamy scene.
I wrote dirty little stories until it started coming together and found success in getting a short story subbed and finding a home for it. A second, much longer erotic crime novella got a contract. Since…I’ve self-published everything put out under the TJ Adams name, staying away from traditional publishing mostly because I find it embarrassing working with an editor on these?.
I’ll spend as much time as I need to with my crime stuff, but will always find a way to get back over here and wear TJ’s hat for a little while. The interaction with readers and other writers has been a lot of fun, and maybe what keeps me coming back from time to time?
So my answer to Ruthanne’s question is simply…it’s a habit cultivated from years of scratching out little stories and trying to get them published, nothing more and nothing less. I doubt I will ever see any real money or fame from doing it. It’s just something that I do.