Hello and welcome to another whimsical edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.
Well friends, after last week’s profundity I thought it might be fun to go with some lighter fare today. But before we get started, a quick update: I am officially back in my home and sleeping in my own bed! I’m out two grand and still don’t have access to my washing machine yet, but who’s counting? Point is, I’m finally back in a place where I can actually relax and refocus on my writing and future prospects.
To that end, I want to talk about my dreams.
So, I was being chased…
Just kidding. I mean my dreams for my career as a writer.
I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was a kid. I can’t precisely pin down the exact age or year, but the first bit of “original” fiction I remember writing was when I was 11. And though I’ve flirted with other career paths since then, writing has been my through line from childhood to where I stand today. From that standpoint, I guess you could say I have achieved that dream. I mean, I am technically writing. Even if I’ve never been published or even taken a finished manuscript out to query. So, 11 year old me can rest easy.
But 32 year old me can’t just yet. For 32 year old me, the dream isn’t just writing, it’s making a living writing. It’s not just calling myself a professional writer, or a working writer, it’s actually being successful enough to be able to quit my day job to do the writing thing full time.
I’m not naïve. I know that it’s actually kind of a lofty goal. I’m perfectly aware that most writers maintain a day job because the sad truth of the matter is writing doesn’t tend to pay very well. Without a big name or a breakout hit, chances are you’re in the midlist and writing is a passion rather than a profession. I know all that. But that’s why we call them dreams, right?
It may not seem like it at times, but I’m actually a pretty private person. I’m shy and I’m anxious and I have a hard time meeting people. I don’t like talking about my day job and I’m reticent to share personal photos online outside of my approved social sphere.
But, despite all that, I long for a… I don’t know what the right word is. ‘Community’ seems too broad’ and I’ve never been a fan of the way ‘tribe’ has been used. But a close-knit group of people around me with similar interests and a common purpose. I had that once, back when I was really into fandom over on a popular blogging site that I won’t name. I had friends then, all over the world really. And, more than that, I was part of something that I contributed to, and people cared about those contributions. I’ll never forget the day I was on Twitter, years after I left fandom, and saw a gif I had made for a particular fandom used on a post for something completely unrelated. It was like… I had made a mark on the internet. It was a little weird… but also kind of cool.
I guess you could say I long for that sense of belonging again, except with writing as a focal point, instead of fandom. And if that writing happened to be my writing… well, I think that would be a little weird. But also kind of cool.
Now, lets get into the really off the wall stuff.
Last week there was a Twitter thread going around, asking people what they would name their indie bookstore. It was a cute little thread that low-key made me feel really dull because I couldn’t come up with a clever book store name.
Then I drove by a little strip mall that went up around the corner of my house right before the pandemic, and as such, hasn’t been able to rent out the storefronts – since opening a new business in 2020 was, well, not recommended and all. And then book store idea came around again.
A bookstore I owned and operated would be fantasy focused. Largely because it’s my favorite genre and there’s precious few (read: none that I’ve found in a reasonable distance) speculative themed indie bookstores in my metro area. I envision a section for YA, for sci-fi/fantasy blends, for paranormal romance. For sword and board, and for #ownvoices. For epic fantasy and political fantasies, and everything in between.
I’d host write ins, costume contests, dramatic readings of old classics. I’d write my own novel at the counter, and I’d partner up with my Friendly Local Game Store that happens to be right down the street for crossover events.
I’d call it Phoenix Feather Books and it would probably close within 6 months because I know jack all about being a book seller or running a business (how would I even get inventory???).
But it’s a dream, perhaps silly and not very well thought out or practical, and it’s mine.
I have other dreams too. People asking me in earnest about x, y, or z thing about my book, or telling me their favorite ships. Being on panels at conferences, or giving a workshop even. Seeing the cover of my very first published novel. Landing my ideal agent. Knowing enough about agents to have an ideal agent.
What are some of your dreams?
That’s all from me this week, now that my head is all light and airy and I can’t think of anything else. I hope to be back on Tuesday with a book review, but I’ve been slacking in my reading, so it may have to wait another week. Either way I’ll see you on Thursday. Until then, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few!