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It’s not digging coal but it’s hard work

4 April, 2013

There was a time when I thought all there was to being a writer was writing a book. Well I’ve done that, and although it took me two years, a lot of tea, a lot of swearing and a lot of long walks while I argued with characters, it turns out that was the easy bit. I don’t mean that flippantly, I have come to learn during those two years that I have an ability. I can write. I have somehow acquired a sense for what words to use and in what order. It’s something I’ve been able to do all of my life, and it’s only now that I’ve taken it seriously.

But now I’ve reached the end of the first full draft, the real work begins. The hard, sometimes tedious work of re-reading, re-wording, re-building. And after that will come the second full draft as I take the lessons from my notes and convert a first stab into something far better than I could have created two years ago. Chapters, subplots, scenes, characters will all be mercilessly butchered, and some thrown into the deleted items bin (Okay, into an archive folder – I could never throw any of it away). And then there will be further and further drafts until I’m sick of it and desperate to do something else, a different WIP, a different job. But it will be finished.

And after that will come the search for agents and publishers. And if that is successful, another redraft based on the butchery of a professional eye. And if THAT is successful, then maybe promotion, readings, signings. And reaching for my career telescope, if I successfully reach this point, if I have written something that an agent liked, that a publisher released, that the public bought, that the readers liked… well then I have to do it all again.

It can feel like a chore, this writing business. It can be tiring and painful. But it’s what I do, and it’s what I will always do. If my only publisher is wordpress, if my only readers are you my followers, fuck it if my only reader is ME, I can’t give up. It’s what I do.

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From → Blogging, Writing

13 Comments
  1. There are all kinds of writers. For some, like me, being published by WordPress is enough. But others, like you, reach farther and dream of seeing your work on a bookstore shelf. I admire your commitment, and glad to see that you accept it as a job… for that’s what it is. Just do it!

    A good friend of mine wrote a book that she self published. Here’s the link…

    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_20?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=wild+nights+mary+ellen+courtney&sprefix=wild+nights+mary+ell%2Cstripbooks%2C356&rh=n%3A283155%2Ck%3Awild+nights+mary+ellen+courtney

    I heard all about her process, and it was work. She gave me a copy yesterday, and I’ve read a few pages… I am shockedpleasantly surprised at her story and writing style… it is good. (don’t tell her I said that) She did not end up with the characters or story she started out with… the editing and publishing took longer than the writing. She said, don’t listen to others, do what you want to do. Read Stephen King’s book on writing… I’m sure you have.

    Some of your writing is very good… even when you are wallowing in self pity (sometimes that’s delightful)… but mostly your fiction shows a good mind. Your Choons, on the other hand usually Suck… but they are Your Choons.

    Stock up the tea cupboard (isn’t that what you call it) and get to work!

    • thanks for your support Ted, it means alot.
      I know my story will have to undergo changes, but i think i am perceptive enough as a reader to know what isnt working. I havent read the Stephen King, in fact I havent read any “how to” books. I am arrogant enough to assume they won’t teach me anything and will dilute my voice. I will be reading books on how to sell myself to agents and publishers though, self-publicity is far from being a strong point of mine.

  2. I like Ted’s advice. I think I might have to take it also. I was thinking a lot about it and wondering if I really do have a book in me. I think I do. I want to tell a story, and tell it well.

    I’m proud of you for writing a book. I, for one can not wait to read it. I would love to be a test reader if you so dare. I know I’m not an English major and I never went to college, but honey, I read with the most voracious appetite. I would be honored.

    Don’t give up. I like your journal entries and your stories. You are a writer, and I’m so glad I’ve gotten to know you. Maybe I need to stock up my tea cupboard and quit blogging so much. Maybe I’ll get that book out of me yet.

    Love, Renee

    • the only way to find out if you have a book in you is to start writing one and see! You will soon find out whether the story has enough in it to be a novel, and if it doesnt then try something else. I never went to college or university either. And i failed english lit at school.

      • Then you and I are kindred spirits aren’t we? It goes to show you writing can’t be learned. It is born in us. We can hone the craft, of course and learn proper grammar. I’m going to try honey, because you did it, I’m going to try. Thanks for the inspiration my sweet friend.

        Love, Renee

      • Youre right, a book can teach you the technical points of writing but not the *feel* of writing. i look forward to reading your book and meeting you at a signing on your book tour 🙂

      • I expect to do exactly the same with you my dear RG. I’ll make you sign my boobs along with signing a copy of your book. Giggle.

      • 🙂 and when you sign your book for me you can sign my moobs!

      • It’s a deal my love. It’s a deal.

  3. It IS what you do…and you do it very well!

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