May 30th, 2013

Veronica Mars types on a Mac

The Burning Insecurities of Writing Fire


           All of you authors out there with high self-confidence levels, please raise your hand.

           Okay, I see you there, Anne Rice. Anyone else? Not many …

           My career as a writer has been a series of battles in which my insecurities are fought, sometimes overcome, but at least revealed. It took many years to convince myself I could write well. Then it took more time to convince myself I could sell fiction, and I was really only sure of that when I – well, sold fiction. Now I work toward convincing myself I can someday write for a living, and considering the pathetically small percentage of writers who manage that, I’m assured of plenty insecurities to come.

           On that subject, it doesn’t help that I plan to make no profit from my newest writing project, despite working on it for 25 years.

           That project reveals a whole raft of new insecurities, drifting steadily toward me.

           Why? Because Smoky Days and Sleepless Nights: A Century Or So With The Albion Fire Department is, in addition to having a way too long title, a work of non-fiction. Writing non-fiction has one major, stressful drawback.

           It’s not fiction.

           In my novel Storm Chaser, and my story collection, Storm Chaser Shorts, two of the characters are volunteers for the Albion Fire Department, that very same department I serve on. We even get to see them in action. But that differs in a very big way from Smoky Days, because those are works of fiction, and the two guys aren’t real (although one’s a barely disguised and slightly better looking version of me).
Collapse )