Friday Eve! I had a touch of insomnia again last night, but I feel okay this morning. I got very tired yesterday in the afternoon, but survived the day but was very drained when I got home. I did do a load of dishes and a load of laundry, though, so there was some success to be had on the home front–glad the sink has been mostly emptied, for one thing–and tonight on the way home I’ll have to stop and make some groceries as we’re out of a few things, but I am just glad that I’ve made it through a relatively productive week here at the Lost Apartment. I’m adjusting to my new job responsibilities as I learn them, which is always nice (nothing too hard or stressful, which is cool, and I like learning how to do new things) and I suppose I should earn the raise I got.
I was too tired to write last night (ugh, the same old refrain, right?) but I did spend some time thinking about the book and this hellish transition chapter I’m stuck on. I really need to stop second-guessing myself, keep moving, and worry about it all later. A short story deadline looms, but I don’t think I am going to have either the time or the inclination to go ahead and try to get something done and turned in on time. I have a story but it needs revision and I am not exactly sure how to solve what the problem in the story actually is; and I really don’t want to turn in something inferior.
I was also thinking last night about, well, my writing career. It’s hard to believe I’ve been a published author now for almost one third of my life, which is quite a long time to be doing this. I was also thinking about my work and how often I am dissatisfied with my own work; I also kind of laughed at myself because I often express that feeling here and on social media–which is precisely the wrong thing to do when it comes to marketing yourself: if the author isn’t satisfied with his own work, why should I read it? I really am terrible at this part of being a writer. But I have never been comfortable praising myself–which is why, I think, I’ve never gotten far with day jobs; I don’t push myself forward because I was raised to believe that you don’t praise yourself–that’s for others to do, and if you do a great job or do something good, other people will notice and if they don’t, doing a great job or something good should be reward in and of itself.
That’s kind of fucked up, actually, now that I put it into writing.
But on the other hand I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t reread something I’ve written and think, oh you should have done this or you could have done this part better or ouch that’s a clumsy sentence/paragraph/transition. I am kind of a perfectionist in some ways; I always think i could have done something better–and that’s not just restricted to the authorial part of my life, either. There are situations I think I could have handled better in the past, but I also tend to look at those experiences as growth opportunities? And God knows I could be a better housekeeper, and don’t even get me started on my electronic files on my back-up hard drive (which I really need to back up again). But is all this self-criticism necessary? I don’t know.
I’m very proud of all of my work; I take all of it–erotica, crime, horror, romance, whatever–seriously and I approach every manuscript with the mentality that I am going to do my best with it. I also think that I need to be easier on myself and less critical of my earlier stuff; the truth is I like to think that I continue to evolve and grow and get better at my craft so yes, if I were to write Murder in the Rue Dauphine or Bourbon Street Blues they would be different books, for sure, but that’s true of every author. Would they be better? No, but they would be different because I am not only a different writer now but a different person. New Orleans is also a different city now than it was when I was writing those books, so it wouldn’t be possible to write those same books the same way today. I mean, Scotty’s rent in the French Quarter was $400 a month back when I wrote Bourbon Street Blues! And so many things I used to write about that aren’t there anymore–Kaldi’s Coffee Museum on Decatur Street; Matassas’ Market on Dauphine; Tujague’s has even moved from where it was for decades, and of course even the sleazy dive bar Rawhide is getting a facelift and a makeover. But that also makes those older books kind of a New Orleans as it was time capsule, which is also really lovely.
And on that note, I am heading into the spice mines. Have a lovely Thursday, Constant Reader, and I will check in with you again tomorrow morning.