When I started writing, over thirty years ago, I remember thinking that if I could just finish the rough draft…I would be almost there. After all, lots of people start writing a book, but most never finish. This has got to be the hardest part of writing.
Fast forward to about twenty years ago: It’s finished. (It’s also wretched. Believe me, you will never see this first novel, at least not in its current form.) I pick the publisher I want to publish it, and send it off. It will sell, right? Most people don’t finish their novels. This one is done. Any problems they will have a professional editor fix, and I’ll be published and rich. But the waiting…this has got to be the hardest part of writing.
The rejection letter arrives. What? They couldn’t see my brilliance among all the typos, bad grammar, and poor description? Rejection sucks. I’m done with writing. Pack it away along with all my dreams. This is most definitely the hardest part of writing.
But I can’t stop writing. Over the next twenty years I make numerous starts on countless stories. Life keeps getting in the way and I keep packing it up/putting it off. Finding the time to write…that is the hardest part of writing.
Then, two years ago…RETIREMENT! Time to write. Stories get finished and polished. I finish Templars Gate (The Forsaken Templar). I even find an agent. This is it. The big time! I write There’s no such thing as Werewolves and Son of Thunder. But nothing sells. Communication breaks down. I feel like I’m beating my head against the wall. I have sequels in my brain, but it’s no use writing them unless I can sell the first. What can I write that will sell? Am I really an author? The questions…the self doubt…this has got to be the hardest part of writing.
I start entering contests, submitting for anthologies, and I get my first big break. September 29, 2011. My short story, A Requiem for Poseidon sells! It’s to a small online publisher. The book will probably only be available digitally. But it’s a sale. Twenty-five whole dollars! I have made money with my writing. I am a professional. “So, when is the book coming out?” I am asked continually. “Soon…” is all I can answer. (It’s been seven months and I still do not have a release date.) Once again, waiting is the hardest part of writing.
I part ways with my agent, and start the search for another. I have stuff now, a body of work. Two completed novels, three completed novellas, and more starts than you can shake a stick at. Though why people would want to shake a stick at anything is beyond me. I go to work every day. I don’t consider myself retired anymore. I’m a writer…an author. It’s what I do…what I am. I have two books published (and a short story in an anthology ‘coming soon’). There’s a ton of stuff I need to do, a mountain of stories I need to write, and it’s all hard work.
This isn’t the blog I started out to write. It evolved as I wrote it, as my writing tends to do. What I realized this morning, sitting here at my computer, is that the hardest part of writing…is believing in yourself.
Well said Steve. A little encourgement for a monday morning. And too those who are trying to be at least where you are. The part of believing in yourself is the hard part, many times self doubt creeps in and it’s easier to let it all go then finish what you started. Good advice. Makes you think!