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Writing for Myself
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Mary and I have been trying to finish our eighth Byzantine mystery novel but I confess I have been doing more reading lately than writing. It's been a long time since I've felt inspired. I think my imagination has been worn down by endlessly grating against the publishing industry.

Ever since we started on the great quest for the Holy Grail of Publication we've done our best to learn the secrets of what editors, agents and publishers want. Unfortunately, as it turns out, what they want is not necessarily what I want, either as a writer or a reader. I don't need a book to grab me by the throat, drag me along at breakneck speed and twist me every which way at the end. That's what life does. I prefer books that are thoughtful and idiosyncratic. Try selling that.

Until recently I have forced myself to read new books, to keep up with what's being published, but for the most part I just plain don't like what today's marketplace demands. Worse, I am beginning to suspect that I've been screening my imagination with a commercial filter and practically nothing I feel like writing about is getting through. Hence my lack of inspiration. Since nothing I feel like writing strikes me as having any chance at publication I have no incentive to write.

I could go back to writing for myself, except that I never have written for myself. I've always had an audience in mind. My parents, my grade school classmates, fellow science fiction fans. Invariably I have had some audience in mind, however small.

Which is not to say that I shouldn't try to just write what pleases me. Period. It would be a new experience.

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