Writing is Hard

(c) qisur (Creative Commons - Flickr)

(c) qisur (Creative Commons – Flickr)

Sometimes, I really wonder why I picked writing as a career choice. There are days where I think any career would be better, including garbage dumpster diver, tripe maker, and snow crab fisher. Let's add septic system cleaner to the list while I'm at it, simply to make sure the list of yicky jobs is robust enough.

You can use a thesaurus to replace ‘robust' with a few other descriptors. The less flattering, the better.

When I was working on Winter Wolf, I entertained the thought of just giving up multiple times. I was behind schedule, often due to circumstances far outside of my control. Money hasn't been my friend this year, entirely thanks to the sewage flood in June or July or whatever the hell month ruined my finances. I try not to think of it overly much.

My pride took a huge kick when I had to ask my mother for financial help so I could go on vacation and we could keep our plans for the future intact. My mother, being who she is, was game to helping out. That's what families do for each other.

(Friends too.)

But I kept going. Work was slow and painful, but I kept going. Every time I opened an editorial file from one of my editors, I verged on panicking because there was going to be some tragic error needing corrected!! My pride always takes a kick during the editorial phase. It is a necessary but painful step in the writing process for me. But I sit down, shut up, and fix the things my editors tell me need to be fixed. That's an integral part of the editorial process.

It doesn't matter how good of an editor you hire if you ignore what they tell you. There are a lot of talented editors I know that I'll never approach because I can't trust them. Their manners either annoy me or come across as egotistical. That doesn't work in an editor-to-client relationship. When I accept a client for editorial, I make certain they're aware of my sense of humor and need to be very direct in how I write my feedback and comments. I don't sugarcoat things. I don't tell them something is good when it is not. I give compliments when compliments are earned (thus throwing the sandwiching bad news with good news on both sides method out the window.)

This is part of why writing is so hard. Anyone can write words. But not everyone can write words, entrust their manuscript to someone, and make use of everything they're being taught. Writing is hard–improving your writing is harder still.

I believe readers are very quick to judge authors by the words they have written. If a story doesn't meld with their tastes, the author has gone on a personal vendetta to waste their time. It makes having writing and releasing a novel a very scary proposition sometimes.

But because it's hard, it is worth doing. I never liked doing things the easy way, not really. If I did, I would have self-published ten years ago, producing something truly terrifying.

But I didn't.

I wanted to get better.

And that's when I learned writing was hard.

But just because something is hard doesn't mean it isn't worthwhile. That was one of the harder lessons I had to learn with Winter Wolf. Right up until its release day, I questioned if I should have invested so much time and heartache into the book. In truth, I still do question it. I worry constantly over those who won't like the book and feel I have done them a personal injustice because of it.

I care about my readers and fans… and that is one of the biggest burdens of all. But it also drives me onward. Because I care about my fans and readers, I want to write even better books. And this hope is what makes writing hard–it's hard because I make it hard, because I have great expectations for myself, and I know it will be very difficult to live up to them.

And that is why I keep going forward: writing is hard…

… but quitting is unacceptable, because I care about my readers and fans. It isn't just about me anymore. It's about me, my fans, my readers, and about creating a career I can live from. (Sorry, the money does matter. I like eating. I also like feeding my cats, keeping the heat in the house on, and saving up to go on a nice vacation to get away from life for a little while. I want to live because I write. I want my job to be a good part of my life, not just a way of feeding myself.)

And that's also why writing is hard.

I care.

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