Writing as Precarious Existence

I wanted to write today about something freeing. Often, I feel crampt in my little house in the backwoods of Missouri. Tucked away from light and sound – noise and culture; while at the same time also excluded from what I’d call the Wild, too.

It’s a precarious existence around here.

I mention this because as a writer, this isn’t my native grounds. I wasn’t born here and I’m not ‘from ‘round these parts’. The sense of isolation gets to me sometimes. Feeling full of noise and clamor – cell phones buzzing, my three dogs trampling back and forth across the only hallway of my shotgun-style home… it’s often difficult to express myself.

Or, perhaps, this IS me expressing myself? I don’t really know.

I feel like I’m the ‘least of these’. Beaten, battered, bruised, obligated… Writing is hard work.

At this point, professionally, I’m not traditionally published. While I enjoy having the freedom and power to publish as I please via various indie routes, I still want the next step. To be honest, I feel like I’m a step behind most of my colleagues at the St Louis Writers Guild. I know you’re not supposed to compare yourself with other writers and humans as a rule, but I do sometimes. I don’t know the industry names they drop (I’m just super-good at pretending I do). I’m honestly still intimidated by the prospect of writing queries and back-cover descriptions. I honestly don’t know what I’m doing.

So I keep writing, when and as I can.

Recently, Meghan Pinson was up talking at the Hannibal Writers Guild. She thinks I’m ready for the next step in my writings – getting agented and traditionally published. I’m glad she thinks so (because I don’t know what to think). In my life as in my writing, I wish there was a reliable road-map. A this-this- and-this sort of level-up guide, tried and true, which got you from point A to point B. I don’t think there is. I could be wrong. I’ve been wrong a lot. I feel like I’ve been past disillusioned to faking it so long, I’m beginning to want to believe my own role. That I know what I’m talking about. That I actually can do this.

I know I’m speaking for too many of us here when I bemoan student debt. I wish Steph and I weren’t in debt. I wish we didn’t owe crap tons of money to everyone, without satisfying means to pay it all off. This weighs on my mind when I write. Lots of things weigh on my mind as I write, you know?

Often, when I sit down to write, I let how I’m feeling color my pages. Hopefully it adds authenticity or something. I worry about how I’ve changed as a person. I know, for example, how since I’m not the same person I was when I wrote Rienspel, I’ll be unable to convincingly carry on the theme into The Grey King

I also scratch my head on why everyone loves my novella, The Grey Isle Tale. I mean, I like the story and all, but honestly guys, it was just something I tossed off over the course of about four months or so. I have no clue how the stars aligned for that one. I don’t know what the secret formula was for telling that story. I just don’t get it.

Now, I have two novels steadily ripening: Nameless and The Last Circle. I’m planning on pitching Nameless (and maybe The Last Circle) at Gateway Con this June. If that doesn’t work out, I’ll pitch to Stephanie Hansen. If that doesn’t work out, I’ll pitch to Z Publishing Missouri. And if THAT doesn’t work out, I’ll just indie publish them next year.

But I hate waiting that long. Waiting sucks. I can be patient about a lot of things, but waiting to publish my (in my opinion) kick-ass stories, is just lame. Lame. Lame. Lame.

There are so many other things clamoring for my attention right now. But I really want to give my stories their due diligence first. I want priority given to these things because I think they deserve to see the light of day as physical and E-books. Besides, you’ve waited long enough (and so have I).

- Ryan

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