Expressing yourself through fiction
I used to be proud of independently writing and publishing novels that I thought would inspire and influence readers; now, I sometimes wish I didn’t try that. All the time, money and imagination I put into creating worlds between the flaps of a cover have left me feeling empty as a result.
However, it has taught me a lesson about the pride and unrecognized arrogance I had at the time of writing. Perhaps the most poignant question I have been asked by a Spectrum editor is, “How will this article age?” which I ask myself about my work in written novels.
I’m not going to broadcast my recent novel via Spectrum article because marketing books works as well as trying to refrigerate a glass of milk by placing it in a sunroom during summer, so I will instead explain the novel-writing process and aftertaste of the finished product. I turned to writing because I had more than a few opinions about life and wanted to express them through a fictional story. I put a lot of time burning the midnight oil to write a long narrative.
At the time of writing, I considered myself an artist whose work would be embraced by the public and change society into a better place. That may sound pretentious, but it was the final step for me to actually finalize and publish the work.
If I didn’t believe my novel would be everything I hoped for, it would not have been published. But it’s one thing to mature and regret what you said in 600 words, and another thing entirely to regret what you said in 600 pages.
Since then, my high opinions of my work have dwindled. I don’t reread my own books because all that stands out to me now are the spelling errors and the residue of the hubris I had when I wrote the novel. I realize the person I was at the time of writing is not the person I am now.
I have matured since then, and the novel is genuinely a product of someone who felt he could change the world. Spouting idealism in a book few other than his immediate family he read, and it stings.
Sometimes the best dreams are the ones you will never attain. I put in all the effort I could to make my dream into a reality, and it swiftly transformed into a nightmare. But it also held a mirror to my ego and hubris, and for that, I’m not sure how to feel.
Had I known then how I would feel now, I still would have written novels, but I probably would have been more accepting of my minuscule influence than I am now. The worst thing about this experience is I now have a personal disgust for the dream I once had since I spent my whole life building up this dream in my head, only to realize I counted my chickens before they hatched.
For my first novel, 2020’s “Eternalize,” I spent roughly $1,300 publishing and merchandising it through an independent company called ebookit.com. The gross I received in revenue purchases through two years’ worth of sales was $113.50.
Considering “Eternalize” was meant to be the first part of a trilogy, I doubt a sequel is in high demand, and I can honestly assert that the “Eternalize trilogy” will remain my “Edwin Drood” since I have since fallen out of love with the bad investment.
Upon expressing disappointment in the failure of my works in recognition and sales, the most common answer I get is, “Don’t worry, a hundred years after you’re dead, your books will become more popular.” That is a statement far too truthful to be considered “encouraging.”
Hopefully, someday I can write a novel I can remain proud of, and other readers can consider me liking enough to be genuinely good. For now, I will have to live a little bit more to glean from my writing experience to accept my work for what it is, and the person I am now, looking at those pieces as fondly as a man with a stomach ache does the last. piece of chocolate cake.
But I’d like to think this is the beginning, not the end. Upon recently attending a speech meeting, I met with someone who similarly expressed themselves through writing a book, this being a children’s coloring book. Immediately I showed support, asking for the title and place of purchase so I could gift my family with it. I behaved this way because I saw a little of myself in her.
I knew for a fact it would floor me to have anyone show interest in my personal journey through literary art, so I effortlessly made her day because I knew I could. She was flattered and humbled by this, and I only hope the best for artists like her and me who sacrifice much and seek to express work to better the world.