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These Are The Thoughts In My Head Right Now

There are two voices in my mind right now.

One voice says “you should be writing! You’re good at it. People like your writing. You like writing. You like creating worlds and relationships. It’s like playing with dolls. It’s a lot of effort and takes a long time, but it’s worth it.”

The other voice just wants to consume. It’s the one that tells me to spend my lunch watching YouTube videos instead of writing. See, I’m at a new job and it’s not so easy to watch while I code anymore. Kinda looked down upon. In fact, unless you have special permissions, you can’t even get to YouTube. I got them through a small fluke — but I don’t want other people to clue in that I have it.

But it’s supposed to be an “agile” environment. So we all have laptops and stark workstations so we can mosey over to others. There are enclaves and cubbies and small pods for 2-3 person impromptu meetings to take place. I use these to my advantage, finding an out of the way place, and watching my “watch later” list. Everything’s open so it’s hard to find a place with privacy. But I’ve been doing this on my lunch period since I finished “Princess Crossover”.

Occasionally, I’ll dabble in some old works. I made my Apple Orchard Fairy Tale ready for publishing. But that’s mostly because I was sick of dealing with it. It was 5500 words and most magazines want 5,000 and under. It had already gone through three revisions. And I had no motivation to expend the effort to get it down any further. It was already trimmed to, in my opinion, as minimal as I could get and still keep it cohesive. So I said, “fuck it, just put it up.”

That’s what this voice says. “Fuck it, it’s easier to watch videos. It’s easier to consume than produce. I get immediate pleasure out of YouTube and Reddit and Dorkly and DeviantArt. Why expend the effort? Not like I get anything back for it.”

And there it is. I feel like I’m working and not getting shit back for my work. I’ve been uploading past works to some new FF sites I found. And my catalog is a bit bigger than I thought, so while I’m doing that, I’m delaying the release of “Princess Crossover”. Which means after writing 200,000 words, I’ve got to wait even longer while I post all 62 chapters of Gatecrash.

And I don’t know if it’s because these sites have low visibility or my subject matter isn’t terribly popular (Blood and classic Mega Man and SNES Legend of Zelda. We’re talking straight outta nineties.) but I am not getting the views I wanted. I mean we’re talking zero. No one’s even browsing the “just published” page out of curiosity.

But the other voice says “Look at all these stories you want to write. And a lot of them are good ideas. But you’ll never get to them unless you finish the things that you’ve already started.”

I think if I want to continue writing, I have to start refocusing on writing for myself. Not for publishers or audience or critiquers, trying to please everyone. I have to think about whether the feedback I’m getting from places like Critters and others is helping me anymore, or if it’s holding me back.

John Green had a blog recently where he was having trouble with his follow-up to The Fault in Our Stars. He had multiple multi-thousand page attempts that he threw away, because it just wasn’t working. Then he started writing something for himself, something just for fun, no pressure, and then it started to come together. Maybe I need to do that. I’ve been concentrating so hard on creating something commercial, I’ve been forgetting to write something I’m really interested in.

Most importantly I need to get my butt in the seat and get off the Internet. But again, I question why should I spend my lunch hour struggling to get down a thousand words when there’s so many funny cat videos out there.

Eric Juneau is a software engineer and novelist on his lunch breaks. In 2016, his first novel, Merm-8, was published by eTreasures. He lives in, was born in, and refuses to leave, Minnesota. You can find him talking about movies, video games, and Disney princesses at http://www.ericjuneaubooks.com where he details his journey to become a capital A Author.

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