This is going to be an uncomfortable combination of Quertermous' confessional and Joe Konrath's hard-headed business model. If you decide to skip today's Planet of Angst, I won't be offended.
Yesterday, Joe casually let it drop that he writes a novel in 30 days. Now Joe approaches this as a business, and he's right, it is a business. He's crafting a product for a market and then selling the bejesus out of it. Good for him.
I can't do that. It's not that I'm an artist. There are artists in this business and I refrain from naming them only because of the names I'll miss. You know who they are. But that's not me. I tap dance, at best, and lately I've had two left feet.
I can't write.
In the past year I've written the first act of a horror collaboration that didn't work, I don't know why, but I could hear the disappointment in my agent's voice. I wrote a film treatment that's with Lion's Gate but we've already heard it "doesn't have enough scare points." For a full year I've been within ten pages of finishing a medical thriller I'm ghosting, and I can't seem to write the damn ending. I don't know why. I've never had this problem before. I've always scoffed at writer's block. No more.
In the past week things have been better. Tribe gave me a chance to put something up over at his place. Bryon has accepted a short story for this summer's Demolition. I have been working on the ghost assignment and the new novel, the one that's been with me for three years plus, but it's like walking through wet concrete.
I can't shake this black fear that whatever I write won't be good enough, that my first book was also my last, that my edge is succumbing to my age, that I'm not hard-headed enough for the business or hardboiled enough for the art.
I don't do this for the money. I don't do this because I have any insight into the human condition. I do this because I'm a writer. So I keep plugging away, page by page, like an infantryman on a long slog, I put one foot in front of the other, not even sure where I'm going except forward.
I'm sorry for airing all this personal stuff in public. I'm usually a suck-it-up kind of guy and I'm sure every one of you has something better to do. So next week, I promise, the tap shoes go back on. Today, I'm going to work.