So. Maybe it's not as do or die as it feels like it is, but today I'm trying to decide whether or not I should perhaps give up on writing another book. Like, ever. Or at least in the next few years, which, let's be honest, probably means forever-ish. Because that's the way life is.
There is the need to make actual money which is becoming more pressing and more real, not so much amorphous guilt as in the past but something more concrete. As in, something to contribute to the family budget. Last year I made absolutely nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. So far this year I've made $3500...not from writing, but from the sale of YABC (via MG to CJ). It's not looking all that good for making any money from writing this year either.
I have been stalled on this Hildie book for ages. Eons. All of the Chicago bits came out so well, so easily, so deceptively "oh isn't this a lovely book, this is going to be gads of fun" but then all the London bits have been horrible. Stilted. I've tossed so many words from this book. More than normal. The hubby did give me a little epiphany the other night -- "Why," he asked, "does it have to be London? Why not leave it in the US?" And I had that "Oh. Hmm." feeling. I mean, I feel like I had / have good reasons for it. I usually love to write about where I am. It makes it easier (usually). You can scout locations. Research stuff. Etc. And as I want to sell a book over here in the UK vs. in the US, I thought that would be a good angle as well. Thought this would be the easiest way to do that -- an American in London, gee, I can write that, right? But the thing is that the dialog of the UK peeps just isn't flowing. I could probably pull off posh British people but I am having a hell of a time capturing the underbelly of London society.
I just don't really know people like that. Sure, you see 'em on the street and I can listen to them on the Tube and in pubs, but I don't KNOW them. I can't get the feel of them. They are like slippery eels. I don't think they are feeling authentic. AT ALL. Which sucks. It is, quite frankly, not working.
I am going to read it all over again today and confirm that to myself. It's been set aside while Max was off school so I've got distance at the moment. Is it worth trudging on or would I be better scrapping all the London bits and just having them run off to Florida (i.e. somewhere I know)?
Or should I pick up the Death book, which has a shorter word count, and finish that?
Or try some new idea, like a middle grade book, which has less word count still and see if I can make that work? Faster to write, faster (hopefully) to market.
There are also bits of me that are doubting whether I can pull off a book for adults. Maybe I just can't write "old." I dunno.
Or should I try to find an actual JOB that would pay actual MONEY consistently? It would have to be something that I could work at around Max's hours, otherwise it isn't worth it. Nothing I'm good at pays well enough to justify paying for childcare.
I have seen one job that looks like it has potential. An Associate Editor for a digital mag. Technically I think I'm over-qualified for an Associate position, but it has been so long since I've had an actual job-job that, eh, that's probably most suitable anyway. And it is a mostly work at home thing. But I'll be honest, the idea of doing the 9 to 5 thing even at home is slightly terrifying to me. It's been since 2005. It's hard to imagine doing again. Ideally, I'd really like to get short term projects but the only ones I've seen don't seem worth it. Everyone wants to be a writer and so many people want to just break in that they'll work for basically nothing, leaving professionals begging. I don't know.
I thought writing all this out would help me think through it but I don't think I'm any closer to a decision. My gut feeling is that I don't want to get a "real" job. BUT my head says I probably ought to.
Writing books is not a way to make a living.
Well, off to read over my crap manuscript and see if it is salvageable at all.
Do I give up? Do I?
Do I dare disturb the universe?