“If you write (or paint or dance or sculpt or sing, I suppose), someone will try to make you feel lousy about it.”  – Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft  

Hello everyone, it’s been a while since we’ve spoken. I’d like to say that there’s a really good reason why I’ve been absent for the last month or so, but I’d be lying. If I’m being completely honest with you, and I think we’ve reached that stage in our relationship, I’ve been away because I just don’t feel like a writer anymore.  

Over the last couple of months, I’ve looked back on my writing life and contemplated whether or not I want to continue writing fiction.   

Did you know that my first time submitting to a publisher, it was accepted? In February 2014, I submitted a query to Permuted Press that included a series of seven novels. I believe at the time, only the first was completed. The second was about halfway finished. I was in utter shock when I received that acceptance letter. I remained in shock even after signing the contract with them. Of course, a new type of shock hit March 2015 when Permuted Press released me and a plethora of other authors from their contracts.   

I remember being interviewed by my college’s student ran newspaper. I thought I had made it. You can actually read the entire thing right here.

In November 2015, that very same book series was picked up by Burning Willow Press. With BWP, I had three books published and several short stories in anthologies published. I loved working with Edd and Kindra, but unfortunately, they had to close their doors in 2019.  Side note, I want to mention that I have only love and respect for Edd and Kindra. They did what they had to do because of personal stuff I don’t want to get into, and I respect them for making the difficult play.  

It was at that time when I first thought about leading that book series out to pasture and putting it out of its misery. Right when I was going to pull the trigger, I got a call from a person that was interested in scavenging titles from BWP’s corpse. They wanted to know if I’d be interested in publishing my series with their newly created indie publishing house. I should’ve said no thank you, but I was stubborn and wanted my books out there. Well, my first book was published in July 2021 and didn’t even have its first birthday before the publisher decided to close up shop in 2022.  

Most authors I talk to speak about their struggle with getting accepted by publishers. I reciprocate by telling them that for me being accepted is easy, it’s the staying there that’s the problem. It’s sort of funny when you think about it.  

At this current point in time, it would be easy to simply quit. The series I’ve been working on since 2014 is all but dead and the few fans that I did have haven’t voiced any questions about the future of the books. While I have completed several manuscripts, it would be easy to simply store those away in a desk drawer and let them collect dust.  

I feel like I’m sitting at fork in the road and my Google Maps isn’t working.   

I started writing Mastering the Craft in 2015 because my managing editor told me to write a column. At the time, I had no clue what to write about since all I did was write. I wrote news articles while at work and when I went home, I wrote fiction. There wasn’t really anything else… so that’s how Mastering the Craft came to be. It was meant to be my way of hashing out whatever I was having a writing malfunction. Sort of like journaling, but work related. Since then, it’s grown to include other literary topics and other bookish stuff.  

If you’re wondering how the Stephen King quote from the top of the article comes into play, well, sometimes the person that tries to make you feel lousy… it turns out to be yourself. And every time a publisher went out of business, I took it out on myself. Whenever I contemplated quitting, my supporter for that idea was myself. Nobody can criticize my writing more than the person I see when I look in the mirror. I think if I’m going to continue down the novel path, I’m going to have to find a way to deal with that.   

So, what’s going to be the fate of my book writing? Will I continue on writing this column? Will Batman defuse the bomb and rescue the citizens of Gotham City from the evil clutches of the Joker? Stay tuned next week, same Bat-Time, same Bat-Station.  


2 responses to “Mastering the Craft?”

  1. patnorton Avatar

    Don’t give up, Jimmy!


    div>I believe

  2. Joseph McBee Avatar
    Joseph McBee

    I feel this. I am nearing the completion of my first non-fiction book and every time I sit down to work the criticism in my head is deafening.

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