Writing is…

Because I’ve been immersed in revisions lately, I haven’t had my head in new stuff for a while. I miss writing raw material and creating.

I once thought I could work on two things at the same time. I thought wrong. I now know have to focus on one thing at a time and finish it from creation to revision before I can refocus my attention on something else. Especially when they’re two vastly different genres – like moving from contemporary to fantasy.

I wish I could be one of those writers who could crank out three books a year but I just don’t see myself doing that. At least not yet. That’s something I need to grow into. Just like writing fantasy is something I need to grow into. I really want to do it – but it’s going to take more practice and more writing to really get there.

And I think what’s most difficult about writing is the waiting. The painfully slow waiting. It’s like watching grass grow or paint dry. And I’m a hurry-up kind of girl. Here-and-now. Just ask Man. Or my mom. They’ll tell you. I want everything done yesterday.

It’s really hard for me to wait for a response from an editor or an agent. Of course, I’ve been making use of the time this go round. I’ve been revising my bum off. And I know it’s best to do that. Had my book been totally finished by then, I would be writing the next one and shipping it off to my critique partners.

So here’s what I’ve learned. This is all strictly my observations from working at this for the last eight years.

Writing is extremely slow.It takes a lot of patience and perseverance to sit down and write an 80,000 word novel and then shove it out the door to your trusted CPs. And then to go through the painfully slow process of revision. And THEN to send it out, once again, to an agent or editor. And then wait. And wait. And wait.

Writing is lonely without finding those supporting players in your own story. Maybe some writers can go it alone and crank out excellent books but I know for me, I need others to commiserate with, to talk craft with, to bounce ideas off of, and to just be a writer with. We don’t have to love the same books or write the same stories. Just having that commonality is enough for me.

Writing is hard work. Wouldn’t it be great to sit down, pound at the keyboard and have a completed, polished ready-to-submit novel the first time? I would love that! What writer wouldn’t? Not only do we have to create and have a plausible plotline, but we need unforgettable characters, too. And if you’re writing otherworldly stories, then there’s the matter of world building. That world the reader steps into has to be a real as the world they wake up to every day. Yeah. Hard work.

Writing is a struggle to get published and stay published. I used to think when I got published, it would be easy from there on out. WRONG. In some respects, I think it’s harder. The deadline pressure I can deal with. In fact, I like it. But things change once you sign that contract and start earning royalties. It’s no longer about being unpublished, entering contests, and trying to get in front of an agent or editor. It’s about marketing and promotion and getting your name out there and hoping your readers don’t forget about you between books. Because for me, there is a lot of time between books (see above!) . And unless you’re lucky and get with a bigger press and have a two- or three-book deal in hand, you’re still trying to get in front of an agent of editor. (Please note, I use “you” and “you’re” collectively here.) And then sometimes, even that doesn’t work out.

Writing is a sense of accomplishment in yourself, knowing you can and will do it, and knowing people love your words as much as you do. Writing is finding that harmony with your inner editor and hitting that point where you finally know it’s good work. Writing is knowing when to take good criticism and use it to your advantage and when to throw out the bad. Writing is taking that rejection for what it is and not letting it get you down, eating some chocolate, and then picking yourself up and going after it again.

Writing is hard, lonely, awesome, fun, fantastic work and I wouldn’t stop for anything in the world.

Now. Go take on the page.

By Michelle

I wish you all could be inside my head. The conversation is sparkling.