More than ever, I have a desire for my words to be read. This is in contrast to the younger version of myself who preferred writing in anonymity. If anyone didn’t like my stories, tough! I wrote them for myself as a means of self-expression. I was an artist! Or something like that.
Now, I want to share. I want to share ideas, emotions, adventures—life’s better shared. I’m aware that this marks a curious change of motivation. No doubt it started while I was dating my wife, Erica. We’re approaching three years of marriage this October, and we seem to enjoy sharing every waking moment together (as well as the unconscious variety). Our former sharing boundaries have all but vanished.
With respect to writing, this makes me feel more mindful of how my work may affect my audience. Are the ideas I’m dreaming up beneficial in any way? Do they impart value? Will I have wasted my time writing them? Do I dare share them, let alone ask for money in return? That last question remains difficult to answer.
Earlier this year, I was prepping a collection of three or four short stories, tentatively titled “A Little Bit of Levity,” for release in February. Their styles and tones are all over the place. One is downright glum. But together, they form something more interesting than the sum of their parts. However, I quickly found out that each of them needs work. Boy, do they need a lot of work! So, “A Little Bit of Levity” will have to wait.
Last year, I self-published “Ring of Winter” after much preparation. It makes for an odd first story, really; written in present tense and paced slowly, it’s the kind of piece I imagine successful writers try once they’ve grown weary of the same old song and dance. For me, it was a necessity. The elephant in the room of my collection if you like. It had to be published so that I could move on to lighter material.
A few friends and family members—and one perfect stranger—bought copies. Selling a single copy would have delighted me. Selling eight copies? I was over the moon, plus I made almost two dollars! Big whoop, I know. It’s a good thing I don’t write for money.
This year, I’m publishing a short story titled “Isolee & Eloise.” It’s a piece I can share with great confidence, and it’s been groomed with a fine-tooth comb. It’s one of my favorites, which helps, and it’s more accessible than “Ring of Winter.” While I was proofing the final draft, I asked in surprise, “Did I write that? Wow. It’s really good!” Yes, I do occasionally pat myself on the back.