Belated #ownvoices and, perhaps, switching gears

The last two years, I summed things up on the anniversary of my first book’s release — how the last year had gone, breaking down numbers, things like that. This anniversary came and went about a month ago. This year was too painful to reckon with. And I don’t mean to whine about it at length. Basically: Nothing. No sales. Book 2 sank like a rock; something like 6 sales over its lifespan. No additional finished books, let alone series. I am struggling with a draft of Book 3. That’s all. Which, in the larger scheme of things, is okay. I don’t live off the writing gig. It’s not a crisis. Just a bummer.

The #ownvoices movement rose more than a year ago, but I finally came to face it this year. I am trying to learn from my mistakes and do better. And since I chose a neutral pseudonym — to keep from slapping myself in the face with the femininity I don’t really like in the first place, every time I attempt to write — let’s break it down, once and for all. I touch on it in my bio at the back of Book 1, but I didn’t really spell it out. With the rise of #ownvoices, I feel I should own up to my lack of bona fides.

I’m a middle/lower-middle-class, middle-aged white lady in a bogstandard monogamous hetero marriage. Soooo, #ownvoices it… is… not.

When I set out to write, I only wanted to make my characters varied from one another, and use a range of character types and origins that I hadn’t seen much in the fantasy I’d read (from unathletic list-making art collectors to queer people, overall). Which is not an excuse, but a rationale from a time before I even knew to think about it. I acknowledge now that that is not legitimate. And so the right thing to do is to stop.

As for writing other stories, other series? I don’t really want to write about middle-aged white ladies in, like, suburbia I guess (their/our natural habitat). For one thing, plenty of people are already doing that. Eat, Pray, Love was a thing decades ago. Which isn’t to say nobody should write about my demographic; the thing is, people already are.

More problematically, it doesn’t interest me. If you want an ocean of straight white people, there are many, many options already extant.

I love writing. I have been writing since I was a child. I feel that in some form I am going to continue; I just have to find something I feel is legitimate for me to write, and interests me. The latter is often a problem, since depression is a harsh mistress even in its milder forms and it can be hard to get interested in things.

But who knows. Maybe there’s a boring straight white middle-aged lady that I’d actually like to write about. I’ll just have to search for her.

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