When Work Is Work
Hey y’all –
I had this talk with my husband about a week ago, and another writer friend of mine today, so I figured I’d bring it up here, too. Seems like it’s going around.
When most people imagine a writer’s job, they imagine sitting down at a computer and pouring out the book of their heart. And sometimes, it really does happen that way. The plot and details just fall together, the words practically dump themselves onto the page from your fingers, and when you look over what you’ve done, it’s got that magic something . That’s when the work is the most satisfying and rewarding.
But sometimes, work is work.
When you take up writing for publication, there’s a lot to consider. You can’t just sit down and write any old story. Not and expect to sell it, anyway. There’s a lot to consider. That fun hobby that called to you so loudly at first suddenly takes on this new, tedious side.
Writing as a hobby is very, very different. It doesn’t matter what you put out there, even if you’re writing for a fandom or forum or collection of friends. All those fun stories with trite ideas and holey plots go away. Wild, quirky ideas turn into things you know you can’t sell. For the first time, you have to consider genre, market, promotion.
You aren’t just planning your next book. You’re planning your career. You’re making choices, accepting ideas that will make your next story less what you envisioned, and more saleable.
It’s easy to forget that writing is a job. To say, “I don’t feel like doing this today” or “I only got 500 words done, that’s good enough” or “I have this great idea, and nevermind the 40k I have in on what I’m writing now”. It takes dedication, commitment, and a thick skin. You will get frustrated, depressed, angsty, and upset. Your publisher will piss you off. Your agent will piss you off. Your editor will really piss you off. You will piss you off.
You’ll hate everything you write, at some point. Plots will refuse to come together. You’ll get halfway through something and realize it sucks. You will have to stick with and finish something that you never want to see again. You will run out of words when you’ve done 500 for the day, and grit your teeth and push to 2000.
And despite all that? Yeah, you’ll love it, and you won’t want to trade it for the world.
Sometimes work is work. And sometimes work is magic. Writing is work. Even if you do it for fun, if you’re publishing, it’s also a job. But the rewards make it absolutely worthwhile.
And in publishing information, here’s a terrific Alt Text post at Wired.com about how to keep yourself safe from predators while trying to get yourself published. These are things every aspiring writer should know!
Visit Cassandra Moore at her web site and be on the look out for her upcoming release TAINT OF SHADOW.