My blog has been neglected. My Facebook fan page has gone fallow. My twitter feed is mostly about my stay-at-home dad and geek hats. My writer hat has been sitting in a closet collecting dust since the whirlwind of 2010-2011 when I was more productive as a writer than I have ever been in my life.
But something happened by 2012. At first I thought it was burnout. In 2011, I completed my first novel (Toonopolis: Gemini), I started my own company to publish it (Portmanteau Press), I published an additional novella in the Toonopolis universe (Anchihiiro: Origin of an Antihero), and I also contributed to, edited, and published a collection of non-fiction essays by stay-at-home dads (Myth of Mr. Mom). Some burnout after a year like that could be expected, right?
But it’s 2015. I am 2 months away from the four-year anniversary of the publication of my first book and have yet to complete any significant writing since. Sure, I’ve had some short works published in other venues since. In 2012, my thriller short “What A Tiny World” appeared in an anthology by the now-defunct Indie Book Collective’s Bullets, Brass, & Babes (and, coincidentally, the anthology was unpublished later, leaving that story with no published home). A Toonopolis short story appeared in another anthology in 2013 (Wild Cards).
So I suppose I shouldn’t be kicking myself too hard. Sure, I haven’t been as productive as I was in 2011, but I haven’t sat completely back and done nothing, right? I don’t know. I completed the outline for the sequel to Toonopolis: Gemini in January of 2014 but the manuscript sits at a paltry 2400 words. In 2010 I could write 2400 words in a single sitting. I’ve had numerous false starts… staring at a blank page for years and wondering where the motivation went.
My personal history aside, this is the first time I even started on the blog in years. I am not sure what I am hoping to accomplish. Perhaps it was just an exercise in getting fingers to keys and spilling out my words for the first time in a long time as Author Jeremy Rodden instead of the other hats I have and love wearing. Maybe I can overcome the excuses and get back to doing something that I legitimately enjoy and am proud of. I blamed burnout. I blamed a dead laptop that lost all my formatting and other publishing-side information and data. I blamed the business of life with my children and responsibilities.
But maybe these are all just excuses. Maybe I fear I won’t be as “successful” (I use that word loosely, in that people I don’t know have purchased and read my work and told me they liked it) with additional works. I wrote a blog post in 2011 about having Second Novel Doubts, and maybe that still carries over to this day. Maybe I look at the work involved in publishing, marketing, and selling books and wish I could just focus on writing instead. The life of an author-publisher (as Chuck Wendig puts it) is a tough one.
Or maybe I should just shut up, not worry about all that comes later, and write my stories. I am not sure what this blog post represents. Perhaps just a public acknowledgement of the internal struggle of getting back on the horse. I would love some feedback from other writers who have gone through similar stretches… or even ones that have not and how they’ve avoided it.
All in all. I think this blog post was mostly just for me. To remind myself that I still have this other hat that I love to wear and that there is no reason I can’t put it back on. I like this hat. It fits me. I think I’ll wear it again. Who’s with me?