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I may be repeating myself.

Writers can end up with recurring motifs in their work for all kinds of reasons. Personal biases, preferences, carefully constructed thematic visions.  But it could also just be laziness.

I'm worried about that last one.  I've noticed a few ideas or plot devices that have popped up a few times in the books I've written so far, including the half-finished post-apocalyptic comedy I'm writing now and "Born Loser," which will be coming out this fall.  I wish I could say the repetition was intentional.  Unfortunately, I fear it may be a premature symptom that I'm running out of ideas.

Case in point: survivalism.  One of the main characters in "Born Loser" is a paranoid militia-type woman who practices survival skills each week and stops just short of doomsday prepping.  This exact archetype comes up again in my post-apocalyptic book.  In "Born Loser," the character is one part joke, one part plot device, and one part quirk.  In my post-apocalyptic book, the character is a critical component to the universe and a foil to the other main protagonist's philosophy and world view.  Their function may be different, but the form is the same.

I wouldn't have guessed this a year ago, but right now I'm on the path to releasing back-to-back books about smartass survivalist chicks.  Is that too many?  Will people see these and think, "Wow, that guy really likes him some doomsday prepping?"

Or consider this.  In Bitter People Without Souls, one of the characters uses a battery-powered camera to figure something out and advance the plot.  In "Born Loser," the protagonist does virtually the same thing.  If I was going to go back in time and choose one to rewrite, I'd redo the scene in Bitter People because the one in "Born Loser" is much more organic.  But I already published Bitter People and I'm much too young and unknown to get away with a Lucas.  So if I just plow ahead with my current plan / manuscript, will people read both books back-to-back and say, "Wow, that guy really doesn't have any other ideas to get out of a jam, does he?"

And what about the titles?  My brother pointed out to me that all my books so far have generally pessimistic, borderline depressing titles, as if they're indicating a psychosis of some sort.  I Need a Job, Bitter People Without Souls, "Born Loser"... and given that some of the working titles for in progress projects have included "The Poor Guy From PACT" and "Quit Being an Asshole," it seems like I really ought to go with something cheery next time around.

And it's not even like this is the first time I've been worried about repeating myself.  I previously wrote about how I was worried that all my female protagonists seem to break down and cry at some point, so now I'm nervously trying to avoid any tears in new stories I write.

I guess what it comes down to is this.  I have basically two options for how I want my writing career to go.  I can either define myself by my sales and do everything in my power to make the most money I possibly can, or I can define myself by how rewarding I find each project to work on, in which case I should be doing everything in my power to grow and evolve.  Clearly, I'm shit at that first path.  So I think I'll just end up being that guy who embarrasses his daughters fifteen years from now when I'm the only idiot online who still uses Amazon to peddle his vanity projects.

If that's the case, then the one thing I can't be is predictable.  I can't get lazy.

...but fixing stuff is, like, hard.  I might not have time to make every book perfectly unique.

So that's my headspace right now.  I'm constantly torn on whether my books can sufficiently stand on their own.  But who knows, maybe nobody will notice until they read this blog.  Maybe I should just shut up while I have the chance.

[Insert your joke about me shutting up here.]

Anyway, how was your weekend?  Good?  Oh, yeah?  Family can be tough sometimes, I know.  What's that?  Oh, good!  Glad to hear your car stopped making that noise.  Yeah, I'm thinking of trading mine in eventually.  Waiting for the right time.  Welp, those forms aren't gonna fill themselves out.  Mondays, amirite?  See ya back at the coffee maker around two.