publishing fiction vs. releasing music

I published Razor Strike, a cyberpunk novel with romantic elements, on 15 May 2022. A year later, I’ve worked on some drafting for a VN and another novel, but I haven’t made any progress beyond that. Instead, I’ve been working on music. I joined the band Thou Merciless Graves and worked on activities I’d trained for decades ago: music arrangement, engineering, and performance. I am sorry to my readers that I do not have any material with a near-future release.

I’m an extravert. I love to read and play solo video games. But I get my energy from activities with other humans. Writing takes alone-time. It’s lonely work, and I have to spend more time at my primary job than I used to. Also, finding a reader is more difficult than finding a listener. To get a listener, I can point them to a single song that will take them several minutes, which is a block of time humans in most modern societies are willing to budget for.

A consumer sees a book as a several hour active commitment, as opposed to a several-minute potentially fun thing, and a concert may be several hours but it isn’t as active a commitment as reading. During a music show, the attendee can plot themselves into a location and spend several hours letting it wash over them. They do not have to engage with the material as actively as they would if they had to read it. I do this myself: I’ll go to a concert where four or five bands are performing and sometimes just take in the vibes. If I like them, I buy the music.

Music is also a smaller commitment timewise for me because I can compose, record, and produce a song in a few months’ time. When I’m working primarily as an arranger instead of a songwriter, this can go down to several weeks’ turnaround. I haven’t been able to write short stories that I want to share. My first novel took me seven years to finish, and I anticipate further ones will take four. While I like big projects and the level of planning needed for them, it’s still a very long time for me to spend in isolation before getting to really talk about the project with anyone.

I recently finished up the post-production of our band’s forthcoming EP. As for writing, I’m back to re-reading the first draft of a near-future visual novel I wrote last year. If I think it’s something that merits publishing, I’ll continue revising it. Otherwise, I will continue scribbling various scenes in my notebook and pick up another old draft to review.