Sunday, February 1, 2009

Being a Writer.

I've always had the nagging thought that I should've kept trying to be a full-time writer.

It's been 20 years since I finished my seventh and final book. I liked it quite a lot, I was very fond of it. But I barely marketed the book, before I shelved it.

My first three books were published, and it's startling to google Duncan McGeary and find more than 200 listings -- not about Pegasus Books, or The Best Minimum Wage Job a Middle Aged Guy Ever Had or anything else I've done for the last 20 years-- but about STAR AXE, SNOWCASTLES, and ICETOWERS.

The books are still percolating, thanks to the internet; still selling, in places diverse as Australia, Sweden, and England. They've even been put online.

So I wonder.

I tend to be relentless in anything I set my mind to. This blog is an example of that. Daily postings for 27 months straight, often more than one a day. Pegasus is another example, getting close to the oldest survivor Downtown under the same ownership and in the same location. Married for 25 years. Living in only two places in the last 30 years. And so on.

So....I might have been able to make it work.

I thought of three reasons why I didn't continue.

1.) I was disgusted with the publishing process and the publishers. Long, long waiting times; editors who changed their minds; hot and cold agents; etc. etc. Whereas, when I bought the store, my creative decisions were immediately rewarded. I got instant feedback. (Much like this blog.)

2.) I could see that MOST writers made very minimal livings, if at all. It would have been a gamble, and I would have spent the requisite time living in the garret, living hand to mouth, pursuing my 'dream.' Again, the store immediately paid off for my efforts.

3.) Biggest reason: I got married, had an instant family, and bought a business.

Turns out, I wasn't one of those writers who could work on my writing in the off hours; a few hours in the morning or evening, while I worked a job, dealt with the family, etc.

Oh, I could write something. This blog is proof of that. But my mind had to be totally into the 'fictional dream' of what I was writing. I was ALWAYS thinking about my books when I was writing them. Daily life was a distraction from my real life of writing.

But age and wisdom has taught me a (4.) reason that I didn't become a writer, and I wasn't ever really tempted to go back.

It wouldn't have been personally good for me at all.

I tend to be an isolated person. A loner. Isolation breeds isolations. What would've happened is that I would've relied on Linda almost solely; every couple of weeks I would've gone to writer's group where I would've been so intense I would probably have scared people.

I would've had very high highs, such as when a book was published. And most of the time I would have been terrified and depressed by the slow progress. I would've had a hard time marketing myself, after spending hours and hours in my room every day.

I was still very phobic back then, and I probably never would've broken out of that.

The store forced me to get out, everyday. Meet people. Talk to them. Tell stories, jokes, exchange experiences. While I may not be terribly socially smooth, I'm no where near the klutz I was 20 years ago.

In other words, my life has been much more enjoyable and entertaining and -- despite the years of debt and toil -- more stable and satisfying.

I've lived a real life, so to speak, instead of self-absorbed fantasy life.

That said, I do enjoy the creative process of this blog. It isn't a chore to write, and I'm happy to find that a few people actually read it once in a while.


Olde Dame Penniwig said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Owen said...

Duncan, you really should get back to writing if you can fit it into your day to day schedule. You are 20 years older now, and may be able to switch it "on" and "off" won't know until you try. If nothing else you could write a murder mystery based on the antics the developers and the city of Bend have been up to for lo these many years!

Anonymous said...

Shit, Piss, Fuck, Hell, Grammar, ...

Women Cum and go moaning of Michaelangelo - T.S. Eliot

Thanks, I'll buy the book, but what does it say about adults fixated on fowl language ( Bird Brains? ).

Anonymous said...

I got instant feedback. (Much like this blog.)


Don't quit your day job.

Just kidding.

I would buy the B. Ueland, but I have to purchase $25 to get free shipping, is there other books that mrs pinneetwat can suggest?

Anonymous said...

"The very first thing I tell my new students on the first day of a workshop is that good writing is about telling the truth..."

But is this really true?

Anonymous said...

Duncan, what you seem to be saying is that books are LASTING. Your books will live on forever. Your name will live in on time.

300 years from now, someone may read and enjoy your book.

All our day-to-day life stuff is fleeting.

Duncan McGeary said...

Yeah, in the scheme of things, my books had minor impact.

BUT: I think because they were distributed nationally by a legitimate publisher, they had a small street cred.

Biggest thing, they were published in England as well, so they were distributed apparently throughout the commonwealth.

Ten years after I wrote them, but pre-internet, I thought they'd just fade away.

But the longer time that passes, the more legitimacy they seem to have....