I Guess Maybe You Can’t Turn Women Into Insatiable Sex Zombies After All

Here’s a question for you: what do you do when you have a product no one will buy?

That problem currently faces Valeant Pharmaceuticals (among others. Hang on. We’ll get to that in a bit). Now, you may ask yourself, “Why is this blog, Do Not Get Sick in the Sink, Please, which is ostensibly concerned with sex and humor, interested in the sales problems at Valeant Pharmaceuticals?”

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One pill makes you smaller, one pill makes you tall. The one that Valeant Pharmaceuticals gives you doesn’t do anything at all.

Let me tell you why: last year Valeant acquired Sprout Pharmaceuticals, a company which readers of this blog may recall from the post Her Eyes Say Yes (It’s Just the Medication Talking) as the manufacturers of the so-called female Viagra, Addyi (flibanserin).

Not quite one  year and one billion dollars (the price Valeant paid for Sprout) later, it appears that most women don’t feel the need to be turned into an insatiable sex zombie (or whatever the drug is supposed to do), and  Valeant has been forced to slash the drug’s sales force.

So what will Valeant do with (I’m guessing) warehouses full of a product that no one will buy?

If you have the answer to that question, can you let me know? Like Valeant  I, too, have been trying to sell a product that no one wants to buy: my writing. Long time readers of this blog are familiar with my trials and tribulations getting published but mostly not getting published.

Is it time for me to realize that my writing is like the so-called female Viagra, a product no one really wants?

Maybe.

Last year, my blogging schedule tapered off from “Once or twice a week or so” to “Definitely at least once a week” to “Once a month or so” and finally fell into “Is she even blogging anymore?” status. A blogger friend noticed I had not been posting and asked, “Don’t you miss it?”

Truthfully, blogger friends, I can say that I did not. It helped (hurt?) that my professional career had finally stabilized, and I couldn’t justify spending what little free time I had working on my fantasy career.

If we turn the clock back even further, back to a year and a half ago, I finished a novel-length work during the annual Nanowrimo challenge. As I toiled at my dining room table that November, typing away on my laptop, my older daughter noted the National Novel Writing Month motto.

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Because she shares her mother’s slightly cruel sense of humor, for the rest of that month, my daughter would walk past me and say, “Don’t believe it, Mom. The world really doesn’t need your novel.”

And now I’m thinking, just like the world doesn’t need Addyi, maybe the world doesn’t need my writing or my blogging and the (I’m guessing) absolute fuckton* of posts I’ve composed over (nearly) six years.

While discussing the difficulty getting published and my readiness to chuck the whole enterprise unless someone, somewhere put a few dollars in my pocket, yet another blogger friend counseled me.

“You should keep writing because you enjoy it,” he said. “That should be reason enough.”

I considered his advice and posted irregularly, haphazardly.

I’m starting a new job today. Right now, as you read this post, I’m probably going through some sort of new employee orientation. In preparation for my new position, I moved all the files on my laptop to an external hard drive this past week. One of the files I moved is that novel I wrote the November before last. I opened the file and read a bit of what I’d written.

And I thought, “I really like what I wrote here.”

And I thought, “Why haven’t I pursued this the way I promised myself I would, back when I wrote it?”

Unlike Valeant, who hired a whole sales force to shill Addyi, I never did anything with the manuscript, except hand it off to two beta readers. One of them loved it, the other hated it, giving a single line of critique, as though she were a high school guidance counseler who spotted the class valedictorian working behind the counter of a McDonald’s.

“I expected so much more from you,” she said.

Glancing through the manuscript the other day, I remembered why I’d given up in the first place: I could no longer tell whether I improved the work with my edits, or if I just changed it. Now I see a lot of glaring errors: lots of passive voice, my usual trouble with commas, an ending that doesn’t quite work.

I don’t much like the title anymore, either.

I guess I’m at the same fork in the road as Valeant is with Addyi. Do I regroup and rethink my product, my writing? Or do I realize, like maybe Valeant should, sometimes the world doesn’t need insatiable sex zombies** what you’re selling?

Royalty free stock photos including the images in this post can be found at freeimages.com.


* For purposes of this blog, an “absolute fuckton” is 228 posts, apparently, because that’s how many I’ve written, counting this one.

**Perhaps if I had written a novel about insatiable sex zombies, I’d have a better chance getting it published.

 

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35 thoughts on “I Guess Maybe You Can’t Turn Women Into Insatiable Sex Zombies After All

    • Karen says:

      Aw, thanks. There’s more to this story—I’ve really struggled to come up with subject matter lately, and there was a time when I thought I would never run out of ideas.

      Maybe I’ve just run out of ideas.

      Liked by 1 person

      • balletandboxing says:

        Change topics? Not just about sex? Include chocolate? 😉

        But seriously, is there anything you feel like writing about?

        I’m trying to start writing short stories and I am crippled by the idea that I have nothing to tell, and nothing anyone would care about.

        Like

  1. Allie P. says:

    Congratulations on the new job. I hope that the next few weeks are wonderfully busy, so busy in fact that you think to yourself “yeah, I don’t need validation from random people out in cyberspace.” I want you to be blissfully content right up until the day you realize you are standing outside of a cubicle with a mug in hand asking about TPS reports and have been for over fifteen minutes. And on that day, during the drunken knee jerk reaction that will undoubtfully follow, I want you to hit that send or publish button on your manuscript if only so that I can finally tell you, “oh, I expected so much better.”

    or, you can keep up the blog as well as your other writing as sporadically as you want and I’ll keep reading.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Michelle at The Green Study says:

    I’m neck-deep in my Nano novel from 2012 (subtitled: That @#$% Novel). Here it is, 2016, no career, no decent novel. I’ve renamed it, changed characters, changed story lines and I’m pretty sure that it still bites. The world doesn’t need it, but I do, apparently.

    I think that’s what it boils down to. There’s nothing else that we have control over except for deciding where we want to put our time and energy. The publishing world seems like a crap shoot. As for blogging, it’s pretty much the same deal. It serves as a warm up for me and place to put things I don’t want to put in offline writing, but a career it does not make.

    Congrats on the new job and best wishes, Karen.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Elyse says:

    First drafts — aren’t they like rehearsals? Bad rehearsal, great performance.

    Go back to it. There is no deadline. Fix what doesn’t work — what you see after the hiatus.

    As to that comment, the person should not be a beta reader. Because there is nothing at all helpful in that statement.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Karen says:

      I wish it were a first draft–it’s not. I’ve worked on this manuscript for over ten years, and finally pushed it over the finish line during Nanowrimo 2014. After that, I spent several months editing/revising/yada yada to get it in shape to show to others.

      Oh, I think my beta reader responded to the problems with the story, and it was a very honest reaction, so I appreciated it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Elyse says:

        Then I see your frustration. But still. THat much time and effort. Having not gotten there, I can’t offer you much advice. But I can wish you luck!

        Like

  4. Belladonna Took says:

    As someone who’s been flumping around in the same damp and dreary space for way too long I don’t have any Great Insights to offer. At any rate, none that have worked for me. BUT … I hope you don’t quit. You’re good, girl! Also, read the latest by Chuck Wendig – including links … I found it worthwhile. Maybe it’ll give you something useful to contemplate too. http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2016/04/11/writers-when-in-doubt-wwyl/

    Liked by 1 person

  5. John W. Howell says:

    I have a first novel manuscript holding the laundry room door open. It is 420 pages of something I don’t think I can fix. (about ten years of effort) I decided to let it do its job on the door and I started a new one. Okay, so I’m four books later and glad I dropped the first. My advice is you either want to write or you don’t. If you want to then do. If you don’t then quit. I would put that book on the shelf for a while and get a fresh piece of paper and see if you really want to write.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Karen says:

      There’s a quote about first novels I can’t find the source of right now, so I’ll paraphrase, “Your first try at a novel needs to be dropped in the bottom desk drawer and left there.”

      Yeah, I’m with you: Write or don’t. I usually roll my eyes at bloggers who write these sorts of posts, and now here I am one of those bloggers! But I’m with you–that’s all that it comes down to, write or don’t. Stop dithering. This matters to no one except yourself.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Karen says:

      I’ve been following the saga of Valeant Pharmaceuticals, of which the Addyi fiasco is only one small part, and I don’t understand why we aren’t marching on Washington to demand change in the pharmaceutical industry, which is thoroughly unethical from the top to the bottom.

      Like

  6. Ally Bean says:

    I recently found your blog, so I cannot comment on what you should do about your novel. [Well, that’s not entirely true. I could comment… ] What I will say is that I’m happy to finally know how much is in an “absolute fuckton.” I’ve worried about that for years. And now, thanks to you, I know the answer definitely.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Tara Sparling says:

    I think the key to successful writing is the gaps. The gap between you writing a novel and picking it up to re-read or edit it will tells me what’s right about it rather than just what’s wrong. And the gap between one blog post and the next reminds me why I like it. I’m not a fan of dental gaps, but writing gaps I can work with.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. acflory says:

    Forgive me for butting in, but it sounds as if you are now seriously ready to look at your MS with clear eyes and make the changes necessary to turn it into the story you saw in your head. First drafts are always just that, a beginning. Don’t give up!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Karen says:

      You most definitely are not butting in–comments are what blogs are all about, as far as I am concerned!

      Thanks for the words of encouragement, but as I said upthread, it’s not a first draft. I’ve worked on this story for years and years. I stopped editing before because I couldn’t tell if the changes I made improved the work, or just made it different.

      Like

      • acflory says:

        Oh, sorry, I misunderstood. Nonetheless, having been away from it for quite a while, you /will/ be able to see it more clearly. And I still don’t think you should give up. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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