Over the last few months, I have had to reevaluate my approach to writing. Do I look at it as a profession or a hobby? I had always looked at it as a profession (albeit one to which I aspired rather than belonged), now I need to learn to look at it as a hobby. This is not to say that I am planning on taking it any less seriously (indeed, ask my wife about my board games and you will get an exasperated explanation of how seriously I take my hobbies), but rather that I am changing what I expect to get out of it.
There are several reasons for this. I have a two year old at home and have recently changed to a position that both requires more of my time (40 hours rather than 32) and can be significantly more draining (I tend to miss a lot of my breaks and I actually need them to relax now, which cuts into my writing productivity). This lack of time has led to me allowing my writing to cause me anxiety (when the opposite should be true), but that anxiety has more to do with my expectations than with the quality of my writing. Simply put, when I worked in retail, writing was a sort of long-term hedge against, well, working in retail. My thought back then was that if I were still working in retail in a decade, I would have enough quality fiction to base a business model off of. As it is, I like my job (and have for several years now), and even if I made enough money writing to get by, I don’t think I would want to give it up. So even though I feel that the quality of my writing has improved, my emotions have suffered. Finally, I have no desire to do the whole self-promotion thing, I don’t suggest my stories to people who don’t first indicate an interest and I don’t nag them about it. I feel that this is a great attribute for a writer (or an artist of any kind, really), since I really don’t want to be that guy who is always trying to get you to read his story. All of this adds up to writing as a hobby.
So what does this mean for you? Well, if you deal with me personally, it hopefully means less moody Tom. It should also result in more blog posts, as I enjoy blogging, too, and it will likely benefit from a less adversarial relationship with my other writing hobby. Finally, it will mean no more sitting on stories. Sure, I’ll still try to sell them first (I mean, why wouldn’t I?), but I’ll go for the most likely outlets and then just put them up here (and Amazon and Smashwords). As it stands, I have three stories and a couple of pieces of flash fiction that are ready to go. I’ll try to get them out in May (it being National Short Story month and all), and I hope to have the first of them up tomorrow. Either way, thanks for sticking with me.