I’ve purposely not talked about my fiction writing here for a while. There’s plenty of reasons behind that, but mostly it’s because I know people don’t want to read my amateur imitations of a story. But today, I just need to rant for a bit.

Honestly trying to get published is stupid. Millions of people dream that they’re going to become the next Tom Clancy or J.K. Rowling, but it’s just not going to happen. Statistically, about as many people get gored by buffalo each year as make it as fiction authors. Yet there’s a huge group of people who, despite the odds, can’t keep from trying.

For some idiotic reason, I’m among that group.

Okay, maybe not completely. I’m certainly not hoping to be a famous author. And I don’t believe I’ll ever be showered in enough royalty fees to quit my accounting job. I’m much too rational for that. I just want to get a book published. Through the traditional lines. Even if it makes less money than I could bring in at my work in a month.

So it’s not about the fame or the money. I simply want to show that I can do it. I stumbled upon writing as a hobby over six years ago, and I’m oddly driven to try to turn that into real cash, even though it will have no material effect on my life (nope, it won’t even reduce how often I use ‘material’ in a conversation). Most of it is probably pride, especially after reading some crap book and thinking, “Wait, THAT got published? Of course I can do better than that! I HAVE done better than that!”

Anyway, for the past six years I’ve kept up on writing blogs and websites, all of which likely make more money convincing writer’s that they should stick to their quixotic path than the aspiring writers will ever actually make themselves. Every month or so, those websites will have a post entitled “Never do [insert random item here] in your story!”

It’s almost always good writing advice. The websites might prey on the dreams of the foolish, but the people who post advice (that I follow, at least) do know what they’re talking about. Every time I see one of those posts, I think back on my books, and realize almost instantly, that, crap, I do that in my story.

I had one of those happen just this week.

Let me back up. Last year, after five years of at times intense study and criticism of my writing, I finally felt like I was ready to write something that could be publishable. The result was something that is, I believe, close. Sure, it needs some tweaking, but it not only hits all the checkmarks I’ve read about, it’s actually a decent read. I mean, it made my wife gasp in anxiety at some of the twists, so it must be pretty okay.

Then, the post. And of course I’m guilty of doing it wrong in my writing. In the part of the book I consider the weakest.

That led me to use the past couple days to completely rewrite my first four pages, spending more hours than I care to admit trying to get them right.

And for what? If it does get published, I’ll probably be lucky to make minimum wage on the proceeds. It likely won’t even satisfy that ever hungry pride, always screaming out “Feed Me!” no matter the degree of the latest success.

My family wants more of my time. My work wants more of my time. Overwatch wants more of my time. And I spend hours with a glimmer of hope that, one day, I might sell a few copies of my book to a handful of gullible Barnes & Noble patrons.

I don’t get it. I should just hang it up and do something more productive with my life. Like video games, for example.

Yet I can’t.

It’s absolutely, totally stupid.

[Image Note: This has absolutely nothing to do with the post. The sheep surrounded by fencing is NOT intended as a metaphor. I just liked the picture.]