Happy-crying while bowling is the new smiling while eating salad

So I’ve been having a meh kind of week, especially with regard to my writing projects. Full of optimism and ambition for once, I asked for help on a writing forum that’s known for its very knowledgeable user base. I said my stuff is a little off the beaten path, but I know it appeals to some people, and I’d like to figure out the best way to give it a shot at finding people who might like it. In other words, now that the thing exists, how do I wrap it up and send it out there so that it reaches its audience? Covers, descriptions, that kind of meta thing.

The knowledgeable user base said LOL no, you’re wasting your time writing your own work, and there’s no point fretting over its packaging. What you need to do is sit down and copy a more successful book, scene by scene. Change some things up so it isn’t exactly the same, we don’t want a lawsuit here, but you basically want a near-copy of something that’s making bank so you can ride its coattails. Think Hunger Games spawning Divergent, to pick an ancient example. Not exactly the same, but not not the same, you dig? People want more of what they like. Give it to them. Anything else is a waste.

And you know, on so many levels, they’re right. It’s efficient, it gives readers more of what they love, and plenty of people have done it and succeeded enormously. I respect the hell out of that hustle.

But I don’t have it in me. I have to have a personal stake in what I’m writing; I don’t have the discipline to put in the work otherwise. I barely have the discipline to write my own work, when I have full creative control. I could no sooner write a market-optimized book than I could grow wings and fly.

So I plummeted into the grumps, read every 1- and 2-star review my first book got on Goodreads (I normally try to avoid reading reviews because it’s a) bad for me and b) not the point of reviews), and submerged neck deep in Talentless Hack Wallowing. Other good things have happened — I released my seventh novella / tenth work overall amidst all this, and had an encouraging talk with my spouse about improving my old covers in spite of the experts’ advice. But going back to the documents and trying to continue has been like pulling teeth. I had to stop working on my two current projects and went back to an older one, hoping that maybe it had a chance of escaping the talentless-hack miasma.

Monday evening after the day job, I fired up a game of Switch Sports bowling. If you remember the smash hit Wii Sports, it’s… a flawed copy that is still reasonably fun to play. (HEY LOOK, A PARALLEL) And while waiting for the other players to connect, I found out that my spouse had sent in a shout-out for my work on an awesome podcast. Because from day one, he has believed in me and my work. Always.

Turns out you can throw a strike on Switch Sports while happy crying. In my defense, the game dings you for quitting in the middle of a match. I can do two things.

If you got here from the Daily Beans, HELLO! Omigod. The where-to-start post is stickied above. Or hey, thanks for just giving it a click.