Dwelling inside the persistent shadow of creativity

I am a writer. 

This is what I do. For a living. Well, not so much lately, but it's the single most salient job I identify with. Back when I was a kid, being introduced to new stuff like Brave New World and Dune and Catcher in the Rye, I fell madly in love with the idea of becoming a writer. 

It didn't take long to discover that it wasn't going to be easy. 

In fact, it wasn't until 1996, when I was a mere 27 years old, that I started writing professionally. It was work, not something I wanted from writing. With my new wife, before our daughter was born, I edited and updated technical books for a publisher named Sybex. The imprint still exists, but the company is long gone, absorbed into another, larger publishing group. I've always like technology and was good with it, but it wasn't what I wanted to write. 

It wasn't science fiction. 

My heart sang when treated to the works of Isaac Asimov. I wanted to write about the life of mankind through the filter of a possible future. I wanted to examine artificial intelligence and fear and desire and pain and joy through the lenses of distant stars. I wanted my words, my ideas, to be cherished by someone, anyone else. 

Writing as a job didn't work out so much. The computer book publishing industry kinda tanked and consolidation changed things, and not for the better. It became harder and harder to secure editing work, and none of my books ideas were gaining traction. My agent wasn't very helpful, either. She didn't believe that the Blackberry was going to be worth the effort anymore or that small business owners would want to bother learning about how IT people work (I'm still working on the latter, albeit slowly). Lo and behold, Blackberry has a hit with its new Priv handset running Android. It just goes to show that it doesn't matter if you're right if you don't have enough influence. 

Eventually, I actually wrote a complete book, all by my lonesome; Getting An IT Help Desk Job For Dummies. It was published last year and hasn't done well. That said, I think it's a pretty damn good book, and I'm pretty hard on myself when it comes to self-review. Sometimes, I think back to when I was writing that book and realize that I wrote 99.8% of those 288 pages (the rest is just filler from Wiley). Those are all my words, which represent my personal experience and observations about the IT industry from 20+ years of being a consultant, engineer, and writer. It was the second book in the series, as well, and it should have been promoted better, but it wasn't. 

Que sera, sera, or as the kids say it today, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I don't have a unified, clerical definition about the state of the writer in America these days. I just know that I always feel as if I'm living under an enormous shadow. I am shaded by those who have come before me, and I wither. The collective accomplishment of these men and women greater than I am resilient is a terrible burden for one to carry, especially for me. Those aren't issues to talk about in public, though. Everyone's had a difficult family life in some fashion. I'll freely allow you to let your imagination go wild. 

So I keep slogging along. I have two books of fiction I am working on now, and I haven't touched them in months. One would be my first novel and the other is a collection of short stories I had written and writing now. I assigned myself a deadline for last year, and I missed it. It's not the same doing it to yourself as it is having a living, breathing editor huffing down your neck. 

So, in the meantime, I write here. I can't even write on my actual blog anymore. It feels like a time capsule of shame and failure, and it has my name plastered all over it. Maybe I will go back to writing there, but for now I'm going to do the deed here. 

Posthaven, indeed. LOLZ.