Saturday, September 8, 2012

Back for the Duration

 After a long absence, I'm returning to give blogging a try.

I've always felt that this was a kind of working overtime, a spinning of wheels that took up energies and focus better used in my fiction, because I am easily distracted, drawn away from more pressing pursuits by tunneling thoughts, by issues over which I have neither control nor power, ideas for books that deflect me from remembering that damn it, I'm already writing another/  Even a song or a bright color can be enough to derail me.

So the blog will center on its new title--an idea large and broad enough to take in ramblings and distractions.And here's one:

I've been going to a lot of conventions lately.  Sitting on a number of panels, or present in the room when panels transpired.  What I'm getting is an odd shift in the focus of some writers--perhaps a reflection of the much-touted "change in the publishing industry", but ultimately, something I may be too old to buy into.  Because it seems that a lot of us are becoming marketers first, writers second.  I have even seen some writers--people I like, don't get me wrong--proclaiming that "if you think of your writing as art, think again" (yes, a direct quote!).

Well, I'm sorry, but I do.  Maybe it's not great art.  Maybe not even good.  But if I were in this for the business, I'd be trying to make money on the enterprise.  I'd be in hedge funds or derivatives, which I understand is where the money is.

Actually, I just like saying "hedge funds" and "derivatives," having no earthly idea what such things are. 

What I do know is that there is a specific craft to the kind of thing writers do and that sometimes, out of diligence and chance or grace, that craft can rise to what has been traditionally called art. Yes, I attend conventions and try to make sales, but I'll let you in on a secret: my first novel sold a million copies worldwide, and I still get small royalty surprises in the mail, but it is not my most satisfying work or experience as a novelist.  I still like Weasel's Luck and think it's a good book, but I have done work since that pleases me more and is a greater source of pride.  If I had to choose between Weasel's Luck's sales and what I believe I did in books like Arcady or Trajan's Arch or Vine, I'd rest content with the lesser profit.  Because of these priorities I must keep a day job, but I'm happy with the day job as well.  Telling stories is serious business, even if you're paid in other stories.

1 comment:

  1. So true Mike. Any creative pursuit has its own intrinsic reward system. When I write a song and it has a positive impact on someone, I have received the ultimate royalty check. The best we can hope for, financially speaking, is that our art can sustain itself and we are free to continue our most meaningful forms of expression. We were created to be creative. It is our nature. I am glad to have found my voice, and I enjoy and appreciate the creative voices of others. Keep on writing, and I wish you personal fulfillment as well as commercial success. Wayne