Imagine having a dream so big, so vivid, that you feel disappointed when it ends. Or when you know that you have to wake up at some point. It’s a dream. Dreams don’t ever come true.
Every waking moment feels sheer drudgery. Without that essence of a dream, life becomes melancholic. Bland, even. Real life is far from fiction, that much is blatantly obvious. Real life, all those moments encompassed in a day, all of it is beyond control.
In the fiction world, there is safety in knowing that the world will only collapse when you want it to. When it gets too much, there is that sense of relief, that all of it will not engulf you and destroy the characteristics that made you, you.
Fiction world is where sanity exists. It is where happiness lies. It’s a dream that doesn’t depend on waking up.
As a writer, I’ve had many such realizations, epiphany too sometimes. It is not an easy road to travel. The words in my head turned into a story that needed to be written. The story became my excuse to regain some of my sanity when things in my real life got too hard. I escaped, found solace in a world created by my imagination. The characters- some of them were my friends, the protagonist was me.
Everything seemed so easy at first. Write what you want, shape a story the way you want to, create the characters and give them your chosen personalities. It was fun. I was writing and I was always having fun.
The characters were given the breath of life, the story was mystical, I found out that I did somewhat have a knack for creating stories. Unique, dark, funny.
It is when the final word is written in the manuscript when the full stop is added, that is when the real world, rips open your imaginative world and drags you out. The real world is heartless and not afraid to show the truth.
Because the truth is, the story that I fell in love with, the characters I birthed, needed someone to bring it to the people- the readers. Not every publisher was willing to sign. Not everyone found my cherished stories appealing. There were a lot of rejections.
There were some cruel moments- I was offered a contract for my first story, then told months later that the company had dissolved and the rights were being returned to the authors. I hadn’t received mine on time and had wasted months not sending it off to another publisher.
Opportunity came knocking and I finally found an epublisher who offered me a contract. I sold a few books, people were reading and reviewing my stories on a popular ebook store.
Then things turned again. After my third published book, the online bookstore suddenly closed down. The publishing company’s marketing team broke up. Suddenly there were no promotions being done. No good site where people would buy books.
Another career setback. I thought things would be easy as a writer. I really did.
There were arguments, frustrations and finally after my fourth book, I sought another publisher. Things went awry again. The publishers weren’t that honest with their sales reports. I was never paid and had to go find another one.
I did. Then I found that company had been sued by a disgruntled author. I had already signed and the owners sold the company. The new owners delayed the release of my book for a year, then did nothing to promote it from their side.
Eventually I found a fourth publisher, and finally, they were easy to work with and thorough professionals. Of course, in spite of it all, I was hit by a terrifying realization. As an author, my job role didn’t only consist of writing stories but also promoting my work.
I have a marketing degree, so it should have been easy right? Nope.
It’s hard getting a book noticed by readers and harder still to garner enough of their interests to generate sales.
The world had changes distractedly and now, most readers preferred the lazy option: free books or wait for bestsellers to be made into movies. No one has any time to read and discover new writing and authors anymore.
But the words have not stopped knocking on the door of my imagination. My characters still beg to breathe. I can’t stop writing, but I can also no longer make it my only career option. After all, if I write it all, create a world of fantasy and horror, who will read it?
Change begets change. The world has changed and so must I.