The Pace of a Long Project

March 29, 2009

This month I started on a new novel, my third. It’s a feature length piece of erotica. I’ve had some success getting earlier pieces of erotica published, and I’m hoping that this project, when it’s completed, might be something I can actually generate some interest in without the help of an agent. I could have gotten started on another “serious” novel, but honestly, I just didn’t see the point right now. I’ve got plenty of ideas, sure, but the two I’ve written so far are languishing in unpublished limbo, I haven’t gotten any serious responses about them, and without an agent to help me sell them, I just don’t feel like committing myself to it right now. It’s a multiple month (or year) undertaking, and the results are uncertain. But sex sells…history has proven that, repeatedly, so I just figured I’d take a shot at this. I was never able to get anyone to take a look at the screenplay. The comic book seems to have fizzled, after working on it for nine months. Maybe this will be the project that gets my foot in the door.

I feel kind of silly to be working on an erotica project of any length. I’m not finding it a very challenging genre to work in, as the plot in an erotic novel is there mainly to serve as the framework to get from one sex scene to the next. It’s hard to avoid cliches, in a genre like this, but I also wonder how necessary it is to do so. How interested are the people who read this stuff in character development, theme, tone, etc? I put my spin on everything I write; I have to, every writer does, but in this particular case, I wonder if the themes that I usually fall back on as a writer will emerge in this piece, even in the rare moments of plot development that don’t have to do with coitus, in various forms, in various places, with various people. I don’t suppose it really matters. I’ll publish under a pen name, if it gets picked up. I just think it’s kind of sad that’s it’s come to this. I had aspirations of being a “real” writer; I still do. Hopefully if this works then I can get back to real literature at some point. In the past five years, I’ve been turned down, now, by magazines and lit agencies alike, literally hundreds upon hundreds of times. I could wallpaper a room with my rejections. I’m just so tired of it.

Of course, then there’s the familiar sensations of starting a larger project. The streaks of lethargy and intense activity. Whenever I’m working on a major project, I’ve come to recognize the sensations; they’re the same, regardless of whether it’s a novel, screenplay, comic series, or whatever else. I’ll want to work a little bit each day, ideally, trying not to stress myself out, while balancing recreational activities and whatever bullshit other work I’m also doing in whatever locale I happen to find myself, to pay the bills. It’s never fun, whatever it is, and nine times out of ten, it seems to be food service industry. What ends up happening is this. I’ll be worn out, physically, from the job I’ve had to take for money. When I get home, I’ll want to watch T.V. or read, or whatever other form of recreation. But then I’ll feel guilty that I’m not working on the project. It’s even worse on my off days, because then I’ll know that I should be taking advantage of the time to be writing, and because I only have that limited time, I feel pressed. I stubbornly won’t want to work, wanting instead to waste time, as it seems in my mind, doing anything else but write. But I need to recognize how much is laziness, and how much is recharging my batteries because I’m pushing myself too hard, and hopefully find a happy medium between the two. Sometimes I do, and sometimes I don’t. The thing is, I’m not in school anymore. There aren’t deadlines, other than the ones I impose myself. But let me tell you, I’m a slave driver in this area, because I’m my own biggest motivator…my only motivator…and I’m obsessed, believe me, that’s not too strong  a word at all, obsessed with succeeding as a writer. I’ll succeed, or kill myself trying. 

This is how it’s been, since I finished my undergrad, and this is undoubtedly how it’s going to continue being, until I get my break. I’m not happy that my latest project is more or less the official compromise of my creative integrity, but hey, people need to masturbate, so I don’t feel so bad about helping them. If this is what it takes to get me noticed, so be it…although, of course, in all probability, I’d be published under a pen name anyway. Ironic. Maybe if it works, it will lead to other things, though; that, of course, is the hope. So that’s what seems to be in my immediate future, anyway, writing wise, trying to think of euphemisms for sexual acts in the times that I can actually get my lazy ass in gear, which will be doubly difficult with the start of baseball season, but I can’t really use that as an excuse. I can always find something to distract me, if it’s what I want. There’s just one glimmer of light that I can see, at least for now. At the end of June I’ll be moving, to where, I’m not entirely sure yet. New York is on top of the list, as I’ve mentioned here on the site before. But regardless of where I’m going, I’m holding out hope that maybe, just maybe, I’ll be able to find slightly more tolerable work there than what I’m doing right now, to pay the bills while I’m hacking out this latest opus. Because my body isn’t too happy with me right now, in my current job, and what’s left of my integrity isn’t too happy at the moment either.

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