The writing bug, that constant itch to start a new story or finish the one currently under construction, is gone. I can't say that writing, for me, was ever a hobby. It was a passion and I threw myself into it with everything I had. I bought books on plot and character development. Read numerous articles and books on how to improve my prose. And, I wrote. On my days off, I spent the entire morning hammering on the keyboard of my computer in the rush to get the next book done. I enjoyed the editing process and the thrill of seeing my hard work in print. I kept up this pace cranking out 12 books at the rate of about one a year. But now, the bug is gone. The adrenaline kick of producing a story so others can enjoy it is no longer there. For the past few weeks, I've been wondering why.
To be totally honest, I don't know. But, I have a few ideas. One of the biggest is the pitiful sales that I've been seeing of late. One of the thrills involves knowing that the stories I write are being enjoyed by others and seeing a sale is what keeps that thrill alive. It has become a habit for me to look at Amazon sales every morning. I was happy with one or two new sales a day -- I'm not greedy. When sales and pages read started dropping far lower, the desire to write followed suit. In an effort to boost sales, I've decided to drop the prices of all my books. I will be doing so as soon as I post this.
But sales are only a part of the reason. Writing is a lot of work; it takes away from many other pursuits. I like to read science fiction and books on astrophysics, quantum theory (for the lay-person) and other technology-related books. I'm also on a quest to learn more about website development. Mornings are also when I am able to watch the science fiction shows my wife does not care to watch. Sacrificing these things is part of scratching the itch. But when scratching begins to result in bleeding it's time to reexamine your priorities.
I've been to a number of events as an author. Sometimes I sell a lot of books. Other times I sell nothing. I've been to conventions, a few of them as a writer. In fact, I'm scheduled to attend another one next March. One thing I've learned at these conventions is that my personal skills are not as finely honed as that of some of the other authors I know. I don't like to brag and I don't interrupt people when they are talking. From what I've observed, to be noticed as an author, you need to be almost rude to garner attention. That's not me.
I will never be nominated for any sort of award. I will never have anyone recognize me in a crowd because I'm a published author. I will never be able to make a living writing books. Believe it or not, I'm perfectly fine with all that. I never wrote because I wanted to win an award or become a famous author. I never published to get rich because I'm practical enough to realize that most writers need a day job to support themselves. I wrote because I had the itch. The itch is gone.
So, after all that, what are my plans? Starting today, I'm putting my 2 current writing projects on indefinite hold. I'm going to start doing some of the things I haven't been able to do because I've been spending time writing. I have no doubt that the itch will return. When it does, I'll start writing again.