Sunday, July 17, 2016

Writing as Self-Punishment

Do you ever do something ridiculous? Of course you have. Don't lie.

And then you're laying around the apartment feeling like a terrible person and a fool and while you're not really motivated to do anything, you have to do something to keep your mind off the thing you did and the associated guilt and the mounting boredom. 

Well, at least I do. But then I was like, do I even deserve a distraction? Shouldn't I just wallow in how big of an ass I am? Why let myself off the hook by doing something I enjoy?

I decided to write. But not work on the things that I enjoy writing. Not my personal random projects or anything fun like that. Nope, I went to the copywriting site I work for and did a few assignments there before sinking back into pity-party gloom. 

Then I thought to myself, hey, you're a dorp, but you don't have to be a lazy dorp. Might as well get something productive out of all this downtime. Oh, you don't like it? Haha, fuck you, because you're not supposed to like it! Think of this as your punishment. An atonement! You have to do something useful to make up for your mistake. 

Here's my big secret: I have a pen name. It makes me money...kind of. To be fair, I don't put a ton of effort into it. I was bored and wondered what would happen, so I set up an account and published a couple of stories. But even so, Amazon sucks. Kindle Unlimited sucks. You get suckered into joining KU so that you can't distribute your stories to other markets, but without the KU algorithm, good luck getting any of your stories seen by buyers on the world's largest ebook market. It's a bit of a catch-22. I understand it's even worse for people who write shorter fiction, because KU pays by pages read and not number of stories bought. And the buyers have to actually read your stuff for it to count at all, which is fucked up. Whereas before KU, you could sell your 8-10k short story for 2.99 and still get 1.99 in royalties no matter what.

With all that in mind, I was outlining a longer romance story for my pen name as part of my "write multiple genres, see what people like" experiment. I don't even like romance, but the genre is popular. There's a fairly steady formula to follow which can help me plot, because I am not all that great at putting together short plots. 

With a heavy sigh, I dove into said romance story. While I didn't finish it as planned (because I just can't help adding dragons and making everything epic in length. Seriously, it's a problem) I did get a lot written. The idea that this was somehow my punishment for doing the bad thing was way more motivating than I expected. Like the adult equivalent for writing lines. I mean, why not use all that self-hatred for something positive? Guilt-writing is better than not writing.


  1. Well, as they say, "anything to get us writing." Not anything though, of course, and I'm sorry for your situation. But still...writing. =)


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