A big reason why I’ve never become a fiction writer is that I can’t decide what to write. Maybe that’s a bit of an oversimplification, but I have a hard time making choices.
I suspect that it has as much to do with confidence as with decision making. I’ve done a good bit of reading in quite a few different subgenres, so it’s hard to believe that I can’t find one that I’d be comfortable in. I spent most of my teens reading science fiction/fantasy and thrillers. I got into British lit in college, absorbing Dickens and Collins and several others. Later on I dabbled in American lit, taking Master’s courses ranging from the 1930s on up to now. I’ve also bounced around the SF subgroups a bit, with urban fantasy, hard science and horror. I’ve even started thinking about comics, though that doesn’t really answer the genre question in my mind.
So maybe my problem is that I’ve created too many options in my head. Or maybe I just don’t want to pick just one. I’ve also read so much good stuff that I’m sure I’m running into the old standard “I could never be as good as the stuff I’ve seen.” I’m not exactly young anymore, either; why would I want to start off in as unstable a career as fiction writing at my age, when I’ve become accustomed to a certain lifestyle?
Working and having a family doesn’t help either. Talk about fodder for procrastination – woof! I could whine for days about all the time I lose between the commute and the “number one son.” (Hell, I’ve almost managed to waste away this entire weekend without blogging, if that tells you anything about my procrastinating skills 🙂 .)
The cool thing is that writing this blog post is having exactly the effect I hoped it would. Listing all of these reasons not to write is showing me just how silly most of them sound. So what looks at first glance like a long list of reasons not to write, with a bit of perspective, starts to resemble a long list of lame excuses to not just get on with it. And that’s probably what I really needed anyway.