I think it’s safe to say that most fiction writers are dreamers. We talk to our imaginary friends in the shower, sketch out maps for our make-believe worlds, learn to speak our own fictional languages, and develop wild histories that often don’t even make it into our finished manuscripts. So naturally, we imagine equally fantastic circumstances for our futures. And today, I’m going to share my top three author pipe dreams with you.
Dream #1: Quit My Day Job
Obviously, this dream involves more than just “quitting” my day job. Hell, I could quit tomorrow, but I like being able to pay my bills and feed myself, so it would be completely irrational.
When I say, “I want to quit my day job,” what I really mean is, “I want to spend my work hours writing novels and earn a living wage from them!”
But here’s the catch: I don’t just want to write for a living; I want to write novels for a living.
Anyone who has ever done freelance gigs knows that there’s a difference between writing for someone else and writing for yourself. Writing for someone else often involves researching topics that are in no way of interest to you, recycling boring articles, and never knowing when your next assignment is coming in.
Writing for yourself, on the other hand, allows you almost complete creative control. (And hey, you still might not know when your next paycheck is coming in, but that’s why this is firmly planted on the pipe dream list.)
So, when I say I want to quit my day job, I’m really saying, I want to be able to provide for myself and my future exclusively by writing novels.
Dream #2: Cure Writer’s Block Once and For All
Okay, to be fair, we all know there’s a “cure” to writer’s block: Just keep writing. But I’ve done that, and 99% of the time, all of the crap you write while you’re creatively blocked is still just crap. And as crap, it ends up flushed down the toilet. So while that “cure” may keep you producing, it certainly doesn’t end a creative block.
For example, at the beginning of March when it was time to move forward on the next stage of my project, my writing was absolute garbage. For three months I wrote piles and piles of shit. And yes, writing shit is a necessary part of drafting, but this was different. Forget complex sentence structures, I was right back to things like, “The sky was blue. Grey was tired. The walls were gray. There was a mouse in the corner.”
For three months, that was how the story progressed (even though I had a detailed outline of the plot sitting right there on my desk) until finally, I created a “shit draft” folder, threw everything inside and started from scratch. Again.
Luckily, things are going much more smoothly now, and book two is on track to be finished by the end of September. But that soul crushing bout of creative constipation definitely forced me to wiggle around some of my personal deadlines for 2020 and 2021. And sure, we can blame COVID-19 and all sorts of other things for a writer’s block (and trust me, I will) but the point remains, writer’s block exists, and I wish there was a magical cure for it.
Dream #3: Fan Art of my Characters
Let’s be real. This is the only dream on this list that actually matters.
My characters are the reason I write, and sharing them with the world has made them so much more real to me. So, I get serious envy when I’m googling books and see a host of character fan art. I mean, how cool would it be to google your own characters and see someone else’s mental image of them?
And yes, I know I could just draw the characters myself, but A) it’s not the same, and B) I’m not that good at art. Do I have character sketches? Of course. Are they impressive? No. No, they are not.
When an author draws their own characters, it’s more out of necessity. We want a visual reference for ourselves, and we have to pull out all of the stops to make it happen. (Unless of course, we’re also artists, which I am not.) Doing something as simple as the following sketches took me hours.
So, when I say I dream of fan art, it’s not just a matter of wishing I had a visual representation of the characters. It’s wishing I had someone else’s vision of the characters. And could I commission a portrait of my characters? Sure. Would I? No. That’s cheating.
In the meantime, I’m holding out for the day when someone draws the crew from Pieces of Pink and sends it to me. (Come on artistic bookworms. I need you.)