If you’ve had a chance to read this blog’s “About” section, you’ll recall that I’ve been a writer for 23 years now. That’s a long time. I still remember that first time I started writing down that first story, how much fun I had writing it, and how much joy I took in hearing my classmates’ reactions to it.
It was then that I knew what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I was going to be a writer! Before then, I would say something like “I’m going to be Batman when I grow up!” but after that…telling stories was my future.
And to be honest…23 years later, I feel like a failure. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. Those first few years, I found out that becoming a published writer was difficult, let alone living off of it. The stories of ‘making it big’ as a writer were few and far between. Most authors didn’t become famous until after they were dead O_o
But I was dedicated, and I was in it for the long-haul. I would work at it, slowly, bit by bit. I would live my life while writing in the background, striving for that day when I could make a living off of writing.
And then a ray of hope struck a few years ago. I started to get to know more fellow writers, started reading more about self-publishing on the internet, and read the blogs of other writers, such as Michael A. Stackpole, and realized that I COULD become a writer full-time, all it would take was dedicated, hard work.
I set out almost 3 years ago with the goal of: “I will make a living off of writing within 2 years.” And while I failed to meet that goal, In that time I published my first novel, and was on the way to publishing a second!
But then…since this past fall, sales have completely bottomed out. I’ve delayed book 3 indefinitely. And I’ve started to question whether or not I’m a writer. But then, that brings up another question…
Who Am I?
When someone asks what my passion is, I say “writing!” I identify myself as a writer. My Dad even jokes sometimes, if you’ve ever seen the movie Paul, he steals a quote from that movie and introduces me, “This is my son, the writer Jon Wasik.”
If I ever stopped writing…I honestly don’t know who I am. “What about your I.T. work?” I do it because it pays the bills and I enjoy it just enough not to go insane from it. Most of the time, any way. Believe me, I never wanted to do I.T. for the rest of my life. I used to call myself a gamer, but in the past year, I seriously think I can count on one hand how many video games I’ve played. If I was a gamer, I’m not really anymore.
This question has seriously been playing through my head the past couple months. If I fail as a writer…what then? Where do I go from here?
A Shining Star Lights My Way
Thankfully there has been a light in my life… When I turned to my fiancee and told her I’m a failure as a writer, and if I’m not a writer anymore, who am I? …she just looks at me, smiles, and says, “You’re my fiance.”
But more than that, she’s said something that has kept me from spiraling completely into depression…”Don’t give up.” It is something I’ve said to her more than once, and for her to look at me and say it as earnestly as I’ve said it to her… It has been an immense help. She hasn’t given up on me as a writer. And if she hasn’t…maybe I shouldn’t give up on myself, either.
And even as I’m writing this blog, I started realizing…what do people think of when they think of me? I’m a geek, very much so. I’m a computer guy. I’m a dedicated friend. I’ve even been called a moral example. And while yes, I am all of those things, there’s always one thing they say or think of first: “He’s a writer.”
“My son, the writer Jon Wasik.”
My Dad’s half-joking, half-serious, completely proud statement.
Have I failed to make it as a writer? Yes. …for the moment. But as I have read online and have been told, as long as I don’t stop, as long as I don’t give up, I’m still a writer.
Where Do I Go From Here?
As my previous blog post stated, I have to delay book 3 of the Sword of Dragons series. However, my fiancee made a good point…that doesn’t mean I have to stop working on things. I can’t dedicate my time to writing right now for many reasons. But I can’t NOT do something writing-related, because I go crazy otherwise.
My fiancee made a suggestion…if I can’t dedicate my time to getting book 3 ready right now, then I can do something else. In the background, I can start developing other stories. I have SO many ideas.
I can touch up Chronicles of the Sentinels, and start sending out query letters again. I can start developing the post-apocalyptic story that started as a dream a couple years ago. Or the sci fi that started as a nightmare last year. Or develop the genre-crossing fantasy/sci-fi idea I came up with a few years back.
Not finish. Not complete the development phase. But flesh them out. Keep my imagination going. Until I can dedicate my time to the Sword of Dragons again.
“Don’t give up,” she said to me. “Keep going.”
I am so glad to have her in my life…so glad that she believes in me and my writing enough to push me forward…
Thanks for reading, everyone.
Really…thank you all so much.
And thank you, Beck Stewart. My future wife, my Starshine, for being that light in my life that gives me hope…