It’s all fun and games…until there’s a deadline. Over the last few weeks I’ve been hunched over my laptop working to meet a tight deadline set by an editor. I’ve often heard or read authors confess that there are times they don’t enjoy writing. After the last few weeks, I can understand why. Oh, like every author there have been days when I’ve sat down to read my current WIP and thought, “Wow, what a piece of crap!” Taking a step back to look at my work objectively and with a critical eye isn’t fun, but it is an integral part of the creative process. Yet there is always a true, pure joy that comes from putting words on a page and telling a story.
I love writing. It defines me. It’s who I am. The last few weeks have reminded me that creating a story is all fun and games…until it comes to the BUSINESS of writing. Writing AND selling is work. Marilyn Pappano recently pointed out to me that while our books may be our babies, “to everyone else — the agent, the editor, the publisher, the distributor, the book seller — they’re a product, nothing more.” That may sound a bit harsh, but it is the cold hard truth.
After meeting my deadline, I rewarded myself, taking a little break from writing. For the first time in weeks, I watched TV. Tonight VH1 broadcast the Beatles movie Hard Day’s Night and The Beatles Anthology. As I watched those shows and listened to the interviews with John, Paul, George, and Ringo, it occurred to me that there were moments in their careers when The Beatles weren’t having fun, when the BUSINESS of making music, then promoting and selling their songs got in the way of enjoying their craft. Ultimately, it played a part in the break-up of the band.
The bottom line is, from start to finish, writing is work. Whether it’s putting the first words on a page or scheduling a book signing, it’s all work.
The challenge is keeping it fun.
The rewards are worth it.