Tuesday, October 22, 2013

It Ain't Easy, Even When it Is

Shepherding a novel to publication is like threading a needle. Blind. On a moving train. While you’re being attacked by monkeys with sticks. Good times.

A sobering view from someone who doesn't sound like he's that sober. In a good way.

So – what? – you wanted sugar coating? All he's suggesting is you should be realistic, reminding us that writing is a serious business. People who say, "Oh, if this doesn't work out, I'll write novels," make me crazy. (And I know people who say exactly that.) Some people, for some reason, think it's easy. If it were easy, everyone would do it. And god knows an awful lot of people try, only to discover to their dismay that the work of writing a book is just that – work.

Does that mean we're all crazy to even harbor the notion? Maybe, but what's wrong with crazy? Writing a novel requires a set of skills that can be learned, but you can't learn anything if you already think you know it all. Just be honest with yourself, understand and accept the odds, keep learning, and do your best. Because that's really all I can do, right? I can't do better than my best.

But if I work at it, my best can become better.

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