I write. I have done so for as long as I remember. I finished my first book in high school. It sucked. I finished my second book in college. It also sucked. I wrote three more novels after a period of finding myself. Suck. Suck. SUCK. In all, I have written five novels that together could clean all of the carpets in an immense house with their sucking power.
Just a few years ago, I finally wrote my first novel that I felt didn’t suck. I titled it Allied Zombies for Peace. Since then, I have written and published four other novels and have two more in the hopper, ready to come out after I clean them up. Tallying it up, here is the list:
Novels that suck = 5 (sorry, I will never let them out of the root cellar)
Novels that I have published = 5
Novels that are almost ready to publish = 2
How much money do I make as a writer? Not much when one considers the time it takes to put together a cohesive story of at least 80,000 words. As a novelist, I agonize over stories. I worry about them. I stress about them. I constantly think about them. I loose sleep over them. As a self-published author, I am not beholden to the man’s deadlines. But I become irritable and depressed if I don’t complete at least one novel every year.
Is it all worth it? My answer: I’m not sure. There you have it, brutal honesty. All I know is, I have to write. I am compelled to it. Sometimes I enjoy it. Sometimes, not being extremely comfortable around people, I escape to it. Sometimes I even live to some degree in my stories. Sometimes I hate it but have to live with it.
A dear friend told me something that I found profound. He said, when it comes to creativity, (he was referring to musicianship, but it translates to writing easy enough) you either have it or you don’t. You might think this is cliché, but he wasn’t talking about natural talent. He was talking about compulsion to create. It’s a compulsion that one is either born with or without. Talent finds its own way to the table along the way. I accept the fact that I was born with a compulsion to write.
Generous people often congratulate me on my contributions. They tell me it must feel great to complete a novel. I smile and take the compliments. I always encourage these kind-hearted people. I tell telling them that they too can do it, that all it takes is work. But the question always rattles around in the back of my mind: was this person born with or without the compulsion?
Writing aside, it’s the compulsion to which I find myself bound. Those who have it understand. Simply put, I write because I have to write. Sometimes I like it. Sometimes I hate it. But the stories keep coming and the words keep flowing. I don’t think that will ever change, all consideration of marketplace success put aside.
In short, if you were born with it, I congratulate you. I also express my condolences.
Bless you for reading,
—craig nybo, 1/05/16