By Scratch De Reno | Hump Day, October 9,2019
This article is about how to commit to a career in fiction writing—from my unique perspective because that is what I have decided to do today. However, this article may just as soon be titled: Do I have the balls to be a fiction writer (with all apologies to those that don’t have balls—but I welcome anyone to pick their organ of choice here).
You see, something has been gnawing away at me lately, like a slow eating cannibal with a set of cold shoulders. It is my personal commitment to being a fiction writer. I have been writing my first book for a long long time. It is almost done and I’m starting to think I don’t want it to be done. Is this normal? Is there something messed up about that feeling or thought?
Am I scared of becoming a fiction writer? I might be. Here is why.
I busied myself with creating a new websites when I should be moving my book across the finish line. These websites take up a lot of my time. So why do I do that? I am stretching out the review process of my book so I can enjoy it like a cannibal with those cold shoulders.
I know the websites are a long term investment and they could potentially help me sell the damn book one day, but I am wondering if there are psychological reasons why I spend so much time not doing the fucking book. Talk to me split personalities.
Am I afraid of being a successful fiction writer? Am I afraid of being a failure at fiction writing? Is it more comfortable for me to stay busy with the website bullshit that I’ve been doing for years, which really hasn’t gotten me anywhere.
That is a hard question to answer. I have this site The Football Fan’s Diet that over the course of six months ranks on the first page of Google for the keywords “"Intermittent Fasting 20-4”". Nowadays, I get 30 - 40 unique visitors just on that keyword. To show you my madness and fixation with this waste of time, I was thinking about the high bounce rate all day. I thought this was a cause to close it down, but it turns out that I was right about the target audience. With males 45 - 55, it had a bounce rate in the 50 percentile rage (for the uninitiated bounce rate is when someone comes to your site, does’t interact and leaves. Great. The site does have potential. However, do I want to write about intermittent fasting?
I am using intermittent fasting to loose weight. Not sure I want to blog or write a book about it. I still might, down the road, but those topics aren’t what is in front of my right now on that proverbial road that is right in front of my two fucking eyes. Right now, I have not arrived at a fork, but an off ramp, that connects me to a different highway. That highway is a career as a fiction writer. The problem is, as I travel down the highway of life, I am not sure about how to commit to taking that exit. How the hell do I take it then?
Well, I have taken it and I will explain how I finally made that commitment. I was torn on spending time on the websites. Half of me wants to believe they will be successful and help sell my books. A growing half of me thinks that is all bullshit and I should just focus on fiction.
I don’t really have a lot of people to confide in when I comes to a career in fiction writing because I’m just getting started and I guess I have low fiction writer’s self-esteem.. However, I asked my daughter who is 16 and sharp as a whistle if she could help me think through something. I asked her if I am just wasting time doing my website hobbies—the Football Fan’s Diet and this other community site, which I was thinking of digging up from the digital grave.. I asked her if she thought my time would be better spent on doing the book and committing to a career as a fiction writer.
Without a doubt she asked me why I was doing the websites to begin with. She was pretty straightforward and clear about it saying I should just stop doing those websites and focus on the damn book—The Midas Protocol.
I know in my heart that she is right. I know in my heart I have to give up these other websites if I am to truly learn the craft of fiction and perhaps elevate my junk to that of art. I have to commit to being the best writer than I can be and writing the best entertaining books that the market will consume. I need to entertain people with my fucking words.
The dream of being a fiction writer goes back to my first grade years. As I approach 48, becoming an author is there for me, if I grab it. I am reminded of Alec Baldwin’s scene in the film Glengarry Glen Ross. I must ask myself if I have the balls to be a fiction writer.
Show what I am going to do? Am I going to choose to be a great writer to the best of my ability and do everything I can to develop my craft from here on out so that I can publish 20 books in the next 20 years and then retire at 68? Or am I just gonna make excuses and busy myself with stuff that in all likelihood if it was going to take off, it would’ve by now.
The one distinguishing special aspect of my existence on this planet is I am on the verge of writing a book. That is how holy and special I think that is. I see a book or something that will outlive me and become part of my legacy for my family and what fans I have—where are you? Who are you? I must find you, fans.
I will admit right now and I am scared of being successful and I am scared of failing. That being said, I think hearing my daughter explain it so clearly to me what needs to happen here, gives me the strength I need to take the next step into the unknown.
So here goes a dedication to the craft affection. It is no longer a hobby it is who I am and that is what I was meant to do and be. Now then, back to answer the question: how to commit to a career in fiction writing?
Screaming, kicking, yelling and stepping on the gas pedal—and taking that fucking exit—and seeing where the road goes.