What I have to do, what I want to do

I revised chapter 2 of Trust and gave it to a writers' group to look over. And it was fun!

I mention that it was fun because to be honest, I forget about that sometimes. I bother writing at this point in my life because I enjoy it. For whatever reason (overactive superego?), it's easy for me to lose track of that, especially for something like a novel, which is a big project with lots of deadlines. I mean, writing a novel is certainly a lot of work, but sometimes I forget that this is work I enjoy.

I've always written, and until quite recently I always wrote for a living. Things changed for me rather suddenly last year, and now I no longer have to write in order to survive. And my thought was not, "Now I don't have to write!" It was, "Now I don't have to write commercial stuff!"

There's still a lot of stuff I have to do that I don't really enjoy--I don't think you ever really get away from obligations in life unless you're an incredibly irresponsible sociopath (which, for the record, I am not). For example, right now, a hell of a lot of my time and mental energy is being taken up by my rain gutters. This follows a surprisingly lengthy and complicated campaign to get the smell of cat pee out of my living room. Neither is a particularly edifying or entertaining focus.

Although some of this is unavoidable, I think there's something to be said for what Unclutterer calls living as close as possible to your ideal self--i.e. trying to manage as much as possible to spend your time doing what you really like, instead of doing what you think you ought to do (or what you think you ought to like).

Which brings me around to marketing. I met a self-published writer the other day who has been marketing herself very aggressively to local media outlets--and with great success. So of course I felt guilty I wasn't doing that. And then I was looking at Goodreads and feeling guilty that I wasn't on there, plus I'm now following Dr. Grumpy on Twitter, which means that I'm not exactly focusing on Twitter's potential as a marketing tool, so there's some more guilt.

But finally I realized that I don't want to do all that! I really, really don't want to spend my time marketing and marketing and MARKETING AND MARKETING until finally I am so unbelievably sick of this whole book-publishing-and-marketing nightmare that I'd rather hang myself than crank out another fucking title that I will then have to go MARKET!!! And you know, if I were in a situation where I needed to sell a gazillion copies or I would starve to death, then I would certainly suck it up. But I'm not.

I think it's worth it to send out review copies (if only for the ego boost I get from a positive review), and once I get Trust out I'll noodle with pricing and some advertising. But those things are basically one-shot deals--you send out copies, set a price, and buy an ad, and then you pretty much forget about it. You don't have to run around constantly buttering a bunch of strangers up in hopes that they'll like you enough on a personal level to support you.