March Madness

I'm just trying to make a smudge on the collective unconscious.
-- David Letterman.

I am currently struggling with a decision that quite frankly does not have a completely satisfying answer. The question is simple: what do I write next? The more precise question is: which of several proposals do I complete, edit, polish and re-edit before sending it off to be shopped about the world of publishing by my literary agent?

Let me first apologize to any and all aspiring writers out there who know just how difficult it is to be in the position to even have an agent. I am privileged as a result of the Matusow book to have a very good representative, who is interested in my current work and eager to receive my next project.

The problem, of course, is the age old dichotomy between money and art. Although in my case the distinction is not completely neat and crisp. The book I want to work on isn't quite ready to be finished; which is to say that the entire story has not yet unfolded and it will not be rushed. So I am left with deciding which of the several other projects will be most profitable and/or will do the most for my reputation as a writer.

Unlike the great suffering literary giants of yore, I am not saddled with the crushing burden of artistic purity. I have no problem selling my words for profit. I do, however, want my work to make a difference beyond merely entertaining my readers. I want what I write to be such that someone might use my words, my stories, my insight to change their life or the lives of those around them. I want to inspire, to illuminate and to encourage.

For that to happen, it is clear I must produce profitable products for the publisher, in order for them to have faith in what I am producing on a more esoteric level in the books I really want to write. So I think the answer to my question is that I must for the present be more commercial, so that in the not too distant future and publisher will say to me -- "and we would like to see your next work . . . " For that to happen I need a name and a resume, so my current decision has several competing commercial and artistic aspects that I am grappling with.

The immediate goal is to deliver a completed book proposal by the end of April and to immediately begin work on a second. Nothing would be better then having two deadlines. I truly enjoy the demands of writing. My current wish is that such pressures came with valuation attached. Give me liberty or give me a big advance.

photo credit: redbubble.com