Some say The Hard Work of Writing is in the editing and revising process, taking out chunks of words that once seemed so perfectly right, and yet somehow do not belong in the finished piece. Some say The Hard Work of Writing is in the initial draft, when the writer is hitting their head on the desk because either the words don’t come, or the words that do come are no more than drivel. Some say The Hard Work of Writing comes after the fact, when the book is polished and ready, yet no one seems to want it. It is difficult to promote something that is so obviously a work of art, and yet readers can’t see the forest for the trees.
I’ve only had limited experience with the latter. And I’ve frequently forced myself to put horrible drivel onto the virtual page, promising myself to fix it in edits. Editing and revising is both a boon and a curse; I want to be done, to see the finished product, and I am impatient. Yet going over words that I wrote months earlier, I often see perfectly clearly what was a huge stumbling block before. It’s gratifying to see the improvements take shape.
I’d say the Hard Work of Writing is having to do what I need to do as opposed to what I feel like doing at the moment. Granted, as a writer, I do have some liberty in this. I can indulge myself in a random short story to explore an idea I had even though it means putting off adding a chapter to my WIP. But I have to police myself. I can not hide away and hit the keys while ignoring my relationships with readers and peers. I can’t spend all my energy in the blogosphere and never finish my WIP. It’s a balance.
Today I am playing catch-up. I have six guest blog posts to write, and I’m stuck on the Hot Fudge and Vanilla one. I wrote it days ago, but I hated it when I read it. Unfortunately it’s the first one scheduled. What I will probably do is go ahead and write at least one or two of the others, then go back to it.
I’ve had jobs answering phones, holding down a desk in an office, working retail, teaching, and providing childcare. Every job has some aspect that is Hard Work. But I would far rather do the Hard Work of developing and promoting my story than the Hard Work of whatever artificial emergency my employer thinks up. I’d rather falsely smile at someone who comes up to my signing table and tells me to my face that they didn’t really care for my book than falsely smile at a customer who is obviously taking out their own bad mood on the poor helpless store clerk. I would rather put in the unpaid, unappreciated hours in these early years, knowing that I’m building for myself the foundation on which I can create the career of my dreams.
The shortlink to this post is http://wp.me/p1qnT4-Yp
…and after the New Year, I’m not going to bother putting the shortlinks in anymore. They are becoming obsolete.
This week, I have a couple of important extras! My first story was published in an anthology called Precipice. It’s available in both print and e-format. Also, I have a short story entered in the America’s Next Author contest. You can read and download that story for free on the website. I’d appreciate your vote (just takes a click on the site, no log in) and if you’re feeling very generous, please leave a review! (requires a log-in with basic info)