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A.P.M.
07-08-2015, 05:46 PM
Let me preface this with the fact that I love writing. I love my books, I love getting my work out there, and I hugely appreciate all my readers.

But, I'm sure I'm not the only one who notices the excitement about "being an author" or "getting my work out there" lessen with each new book release?

When I saw my very first book show up on an old, now-defunct publisher's "coming soon" page, I was ecstatic. I was so happy and excited I didn't even know what to do with myself. Now that my 13th book has just released, and I have my print copies on my shelf, I want to feel that again, but I just don't. It's still great, don't get me wrong, and I'm happy. Release parties are fun and I love talking to readers. But I'm not as overwhelmingly excited. There's no "magic" in getting a book published anymore. Its just part of being an author.

The same thing happened with publishing scientific papers. When my first got published, it was wonderful. Now that I'm working on my 8th, I just feel like its part of the job.

Maybe that will change if I get something published traditionally, or get an agent, or become a huge bestseller (don't we all wish...?). But for now, I feel like the crazy excitement of "breaking out" is gone.

Am I the only one here? What do other people notice as they get more books out there?

Dennis E. Taylor
07-08-2015, 06:17 PM
I think that's inevitable in any endeavour. Even sex can get routine. Still fun, though.

If you find yourself actually treating it like a chore, that's when you have to re-evaluate.

SomethingOrOther
07-08-2015, 06:33 PM
I think that's inevitable in any endeavour. Even sex can get routine. Still fun, though.

If you find yourself actually treating it like a chore, that's when you have to re-evaluate.

This is a good point. When sex gets routine, what do you do? Spice it up — have kinky sex in odd places.

So it follows that writers should do similar things when the process gets stale. Maybe try to get published in a way that you don't think you are capable of (e.g., a bigger publishing house, a type of book you don't normally write). After all, part of the initial excitement was probably a feeling of, "Holy crap, I wasn't sure I could do this, but I actually can!"

I wrote a very small program that generates "kinky" novel project ideas.

Here's the first suggestion it cooked up:

Write a novel about a [armed musician] who [summons pigeons] after [talking goats] [destroy the world's supply of scotch] and do it at [Latitude: -74.83; Longitude: -174.37].

This is the location:

http://i.imgur.com/E17uOpj.png

Looks like you're going to need a boat!

Good luck. Update us on how it goes. :)

Dennis E. Taylor
07-08-2015, 08:13 PM
That's great! I remember those random sentence generators. Some were designed to generate stuff that was, um, NSFW.

I've been playing around with the idea of a title generator. Same idea as yours, but a random number of clauses, so you could get anything from a one or two word title right up to the longest title you can think of.

Jamesaritchie
07-08-2015, 08:42 PM
Maybe that will change if I get something published traditionally, or get an agent, or become a huge bestseller (don't we all wish...?). But for now, I feel like the crazy excitement of "breaking out" is gone.

Am I the only one here? What do other people notice as they get more books out there?

Probably not the only one, self-publishing gives me that feeling. I don't talk about it much, except to a couple of close writer friends, but I self-published a short novel a couple of years ago, and I never will self-publish anything else that hasn't already been published traditionally.

Anyone can write a book and self-publish it. Anyone. Anyone. I felt no more sense of accomplishment than I would have by scribbling all over the same number of pages, and self-publishing that.

Going through gatekeepers, convincing not only an agent and an editor, but a publisher who will have to risk tens of thousands of dollar to publish something of mine gives me that old sense of accomplishment every time.

So does selling a short story to a top magazine, which is ever more difficult than selling a novel.

I pulled that story about two weeks after letting it go because I realized I sometimes write something that isn't really worth reading, even if a few people think it is. I don't think the writing is bad, but the story and/or characters fall short. I know this because I can't get it past gatekeepers anywhere. Anywhere at all. Somewhere down the road, I usually figure out why, and realize the gatekeepers were right. Just writing something does not mean it's good. I read enough slush piles to know that the very large majority of what's written ranges from pretty bad, to downright horrible. So I need more than just writing it. A lot more.

With short stories submitted to good magazines, I'm competing with the best short story writers in the world for a very few slots. Darned near every famous short story writer in that genre submits stories, and my story has to be better than theirs in some way, or it will be rejected. Not as good as, but in some way better. This gives me a tremendous sense of accomplishment. Always has, and still does.

With novels, a publisher has to risk far more money than most would believe, and while it's easier to get a novel past the gatekeepers than it is to get a short story past them, it's still tough. Doing so repeatedly is even tougher.

Anyway, I love the process of writing, the act of sitting down and creating something good enough to get past those gatekeepers, and good enough to then please readers. If I didn't love the process, I wouldn't be a writer. But, for me, the continual sense of accomplishment comes from doing something only a relative few can mange, and that even fewer can keep managing over the years.

Anyway, this is where my sense of accomplishment comes from, and it's still a thrill when the gatekeeper swings open the gate and lets me walk through.

RKarina
07-08-2015, 08:46 PM
I think this is a natural part of life and it applies to pretty much everything... and I think that losing that sense of rush is not the same as getting "boring". (The sex analogy? If it's getting boring, you're doing something wrong. Just sayin'.) But I do think it's just natural for things that once felt exciting to lose some of their edge over time. The mystery is gone. There's no novelty in it.

Does it mean you need to seek out ever-more enticing things? I don't think so. Sure, that can be fun, but even those things eventually become ho-hum. That can get dangerous, really fast.

It's just human nature.

I've been in some form of publishing for my entire career. The last time I felt that giddy rush I think was back in high school when one of my pieces from the high school paper got picked up by the regular local paper (a multiple Pulitzer winning publication with a circulation over 250,000 at the time). I've had articles published in newspapers and magazines pretty much constantly ever since. It kinda made having a book published feel like a cool thing, but not a crazy big deal thing.

It doesn't mean I enjoy it any less. It doesn't mean I'm not fulfilled by doing it. It doesn't mean it's not exciting, not pleasurable, not whatever. It just means it doesn't give me that rush.

But that also means I roll with the lows better. A bad review isn't going to ruin my day. A week of writer's block isn't going to send me into a funk.

I do what makes me happy. I enjoy the successes and learn from the failures.

Would I like to feel that rush? Meh. I'm excited by what I do. I love what I do. That rush? It's temporary. It's no different to me than the feeling you get when you're cresting the first hill on a roller coaster. It's exciting, but it's not something I'd want every day, all day.

I still get excited over the story. I still get all the thrills over finding a great plot point, or putting together a good scene, or wrapping up a good tale.

I choose my thrills in life. And I enjoy the satisfaction I get from my writing.

Long story short - no I don't think you're alone in feeling that way. But for me, I don't necessarily think it's a bad thing.

nighttimer
07-08-2015, 09:05 PM
Let me preface this with the fact that I love writing. I love my books, I love getting my work out there, and I hugely appreciate all my readers.

But, I'm sure I'm not the only one who notices the excitement about "being an author" or "getting my work out there" lessen with each new book release?

When I saw my very first book show up on an old, now-defunct publisher's "coming soon" page, I was ecstatic. I was so happy and excited I didn't even know what to do with myself. Now that my 13th book has just released, and I have my print copies on my shelf, I want to feel that again, but I just don't. It's still great, don't get me wrong, and I'm happy. Release parties are fun and I love talking to readers. But I'm not as overwhelmingly excited. There's no "magic" in getting a book published anymore. Its just part of being an author.

The same thing happened with publishing scientific papers. When my first got published, it was wonderful. Now that I'm working on my 8th, I just feel like its part of the job.

Maybe that will change if I get something published traditionally, or get an agent, or become a huge bestseller (don't we all wish...?). But for now, I feel like the crazy excitement of "breaking out" is gone.

Am I the only one here? What do other people notice as they get more books out there?

I'm not a novelist, so I don't have to worry about the bloom fading from the rose, but to sum up your feelings of "been there, done that" I believe Sade did a song entitled "Never As Good As the First Time" which may hit on what you're experiencing.

Sade was wrong though. It can be much better than the first time. Will it always be better? No. Why would it be? Once its a habit, it's not always gonna be a thrill.

Speaking only for myself, I've never written for others. I write for an audience of one and once I've pleased myself that is when I think of others, never before.

And it's still a thrill to write something, see it published with my byline and particularly when there's a check in the mail. That never gets old.

The process of publishing and marketing is more of a grind than the process of creating, but there's no other way, no shortcuts and no magic bullets. Who doesn't want a best-seller, a seat on the sofa chatting with Matt Laurer, a TV or movie adaptation? Most of us will never get anything close to it, but you have to eat a lot of hamburger before you get to the prime rib.

Any suggestion I might make to you would be superfluous. I derive peace of mind from the work itself and I'm not sure if there's anything else.

Being a semi-successful writer who isn't as big as hoped can be a dulling and frustrating experience, but it is better than being a totally failed one.

MarkEsq
07-08-2015, 11:45 PM
I would agree that the initial rush I felt has subsided. Novel #5 just came out and the feeling was very different from novel #1. Gosh, when I walked into my local indie bookstore that first time with my kids, and they rushed up to the shelves where the book was being displayed, I laughed and cried at the same time.

But you know what else has diminished? My anxiety levels. I'm not a particularly insecure person but putting that first book out there had the nerves a-jangling. Now, not so much. I care much less about bad reviews, too (not that I ever get any, of course... ;)). I have an audience, I have people who love the series, so I'm where I always wanted to be.

One feeling has remained, though: optimism. I'm always hoping, wondering, dreaming, that the next book will be the one that buys me an apartment in Paris and lets me wear a smoking jacket for the rest of my life.

I guess I'm saying that the process has been an evolution for me, with the emotions changing rather than diminishing. I'm sure as heck not complaining. :)

Jamesaritchie
07-09-2015, 02:15 AM
Maybe a better, easier way to think of it is to always have a new, tougher goal. I'm not big on the sex analogy because if it gets boring, you're with the wrong person, but there is one similarity. Nothing is any good if you're simply phoning it in.

Writing is about new challenges. It probably is true that you get the same rush as the first time you did something few can do, and that you weren't certain you could do, but there should always be new challenges, new goals, and they should be tough challenges, and tough goals. If they aren't, you're just phoning it in. You're doing the same thing over and over, and it's something you can do without any real challenge.

Maybe it's just me, but new challenges and new goals keep it exciting. With short stories, it can be as "simple" as selling to a new magazine, or as difficult as having a story win an award. With novels, it can be selling in a new genre, winning an award, or besting my previous sales record. Or it can be writing and selling something like a screenplay, a poem, or anything I haven't tried before.

I think most of us need challenges and goals to keep what we're doing fresh and exiting.