So…why write, again?
Last weekend, I had the honor of giving a book talk and participating in an author panel hosted by Pikes Peak Writers, and the question came up over and over again as we shared the difficulties of things like getting noticed, figuring out royalty statements, dealing with change in the industry, and all that waiting. It was one of the more honest discussions on the pitfalls of the business I've heard in a while, and probably raised the hair of the aspiring authors in the audience (sorry, guys).
This is not how I look while writing.
After the event, I headed back to my hotel, a splurge intended to give me the chance to write uninterrupted and in relative luxury for a weekend in a desperate attempt to Get The Damned Book Proposal Turned In. I opened up my document only to find that it sucked. Everything was wrong. The chronology was off, it was boring and pompous, and I was reminded how much of a longshot it is that anyone will ever want to buy a piece of anyone's writing, let alone mine. I was reminded of my fellow panelists and all of the stress and hardship of the industry and the fact that Writing is Hard. So hard.
I indulged this feeling for a little bit, contemplating the certain destruction of my career and my lonely, withered and unloved death. Then I did the only thing I really know how to do—I leaned into it. I shuffled my notes around. I acquired snacks, and ate them. I audibly groaned at times. I chewed on my pen. I listened to the same music on repeat. Soon I was rearranging the chronology, slashing words and putting others in their places, feeling out how to stitch that little piece of narrative together.
I finished the proposal and hit send.
This incident reminded me of why I love writing and why it's so worth it. To me, writing is more than a contract or my name on the front of a book, though I will not lessen the significance or excitement of either of those things. It's the annoying exhilaration of figuring it out so that I can talk to all of you. I finished the weekend kind of exhausted and bleary-eyed, but closer to triumphant than I've been for a while. Getting that draft done was the personal equivalent of hitting a personal record on a run or scoring some kind of work victory. Best of all? I get to do that again, and again, and again.
So…yeah, it's worth it.
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