As I lean into creating a career as a fictionn writer, and look for and talk to mentors, I keep waiting for the “and then it kicks in and just works” statements. No one is saying those words. At all. And the hard work goes beyond the butt in the seat writing time required. It also involves the business of writing itself.
I have a number of friends who are publishing books right now. As a member of Sisters in Crime New England (and the current president) this isn’t really surprising. That is the point of the organization–support and mentorship. And friendship. Many of my Facebook friends are writing mystery series (or two or three), and have a book due every nine months. I know two people who had books released today. E and L had book #2 in their respective series due on Sunday, meanwhile they are doing signings, guest blogs, and promotion for their first books. T has a new series (her third or fourth) launching in two months, and is a wreck. B and J have book # 1 in their series coming out this fall, and are both working on book #2. J is thinking about a second series as well. S just got her first book contract, so now she has to write the book. G is looking for an agent. And R just got a contract on a book he has written, and is now working with the publisher on his promotional materials.
As someone who aspires to being on this treadmill, I am learning a lot about the publishing and promotion business. I am also learning over and over something I already know, but sometimes forget. It is hard work. All of it. Writing. Rewriting. Editing. Promotion. Starting it all over again. Hard work.
But what I am also learning is that attitude is everything. I learn from the people who lament publicly at every phase. I learn how not to act. And I learn from the people who are funny, exhausted, distracted, and grateful. Grateful wins, every time.
Writers need to write. We’ve eaten the apple, and are doomed to feel the call for the rest of our lives. Sure, you can ignore the call; that is its own misery. No, we need to write. It is hard work, and a hard life. But we need to do it, despite the difficulties.
As I watch my Facebook feed, I just thought this should be acknowledged. It is all hard.
It never gets easier.
And worse? There are no guarantees. A series can be dropped. Promotion falls on the author’s shoulders. Ideas don’t come just because you scheduled this afternoon to write.
But still, even after all that and more, we write. Because we have to. We are blessedly cursed to have been infected with the need to write. It is more than a desire, it is a need. So the hard work needs to be balanced by joy. The small steps needs to be celebrated. We can control two things–what we produce, and our attitude.
Have a great 4th of July.