Writing Math

This is the dilemma.

I have this book, Ravenmarked. And I have a few fans. And I have a few sequels planned. And the fans would like to see the sequels sometime before they die.

So I work on the sequel, Bloodbonded. And then I finally can’t look at it anymore, so I finish it as much as I can and send it to five beta readers. Two beta readers drop out. Three beta readers haven’t finished the book.

My window for doing edits based on feedback from beta readers was narrow anyway, but now it’s closing, rapidly. And that’s if they returned the feedback, like, today. But I can’t really do anything until I get feedback, so I’m stuck.

So I start feeling like giving up–like maybe this isn’t meant to be, like maybe this is a sign that the book really is a steaming pile and should probably be burned and eradicated immediately, or like maybe it should at least be completely taken down to the bones and restarted.

And at the same time, it’s a new year, and I have goals:

* Lose 50 pounds.
* Declutter and deep clean my whole house.
* Read 100 books.
* Finish the tablecloth I’ve been working on since June.


This was the tablecloth in August. It hasn’t grown much. It needs to grow.

None of these goals involve Bloodbonded.

And I start to think that I need to fish or cut bait–like I need to decide, “am I going to do this damn writing thing or not?”

So I start to think that maybe I should pay an editor. Maybe this book will never get finished until I pay someone to help me with it.

But editors cost money. A fair bit of money. And this is a hobby.

I have a friend who races cars. She and her husband have a good deal of disposable income. It’s not a stretch for her to spend the money on an expensive hobby.

For me? Yarn is as expensive as I’m willing to go on a hobby. And fabric. Yarn and fabric. Because yarn and fabric produce useful things. They soothe me. They make me feel like a productive, useful member of the family. The act of creating with yarn and fabric brings deep satisfaction, joy, happiness. Seeing someone wear or use something I made makes me warm inside.

Writing? Not so much.

It’s easy to promote the “art for art’s sake” philosophy. It’s easy to say, “art makes the world a more beautiful place, so it’s worth the investment.”

But it’s not so easy to put hundreds or thousands of dollars into a hobby that produces nothing but guilt, angst, and stress, that takes precious time from my family, that keeps me from productivity everywhere else in my life, and that doesn’t make me warm inside.

So… should I even have this hobby? Or should I just bite the bullet and call it a job?

I could do that. I could go back to calling it a job. It’s the only way to justify spending the money on editing. If it’s a job or a business, then spending money on editing is an investment.

But when one invests, one expects a return on investment. To get a return on investment in my writing, I’d have to put a lot more time into it. I’d have to make it a priority. It would have to be the first thing I do every day. I’d have to put several hours a day into writing, creating new content, researching, reading, editing, publishing, promoting, etc.

And there go all the other goals for this year.

Writing math is hard.

Comments (3)

  1. tony

    You want a reader who will at least finish and give you feedback? Within two weeks? Send me a note.

    I don’t charge, because I’m certain I’m not good enough to, which may make your decision for you.

    If you have interest, like I said, drop me a note.

    Be well and happy, too.

    1. Amy Rose Davis (Post author)

      Thanks for the offer, Tony. An editor I know offered to do it this week at no charge, which was too generous for me to pass up. But if I get stuck again on the next pass, I will let you know. 🙂

      1. tony

        NP, Amy. Just trying to keep you sane and the wheels turning. Don’t be afraid to ask!


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