Thursday, February 20, 2014

Writing Truths

Did you know writers are readers too?

Yep, sometimes when I get stuck on a scene I'm working on, the best thing I can do is put it aside and dive into a great book by one of the author's I love. Never fails to open up those creative juices.

This is how I know Readers love to get lost in a book, be taken away to far away places they never might have the chance to experience otherwise, or just escape their chaotic lives for a awhile. But how many readers stop to think about what really goes into writing, promoting and selling those beloved books?

When I was younger, I thought authors sat in their quiet offices, relaxating in pj’s as they pounded away at those keys. Then when the book was finished, they'd sit back and watch the money roll in. Geesh…talk about not even close. I wish that’s how it worked. LOL

Blood, sweat and tears! That's more like it.

Writers work non-stop on their masterpieces even when not at the computer typing those brilliant words. The story and characters preoccupy pretty much every moment of every day. Late nights, early mornings, lunch breaks, carpool lines, doctors waiting rooms, you name it. There is no turning the switch off. The plotting and writing oozes out of every pore regardless of whether we want it to or not.

With the invention of e-books, the publishing side may have gotten a bit easier to wade through for authors like me, wanting more say over covers and pricing, but it also opened up a can of worms as well. Now authors can have that control by self-publishing their work, but they must learn to format, find and hire good cover artists as well as editors, and then promote, promote, promote!

Did I say how much I hate to promote? Ugh...

Even choosing to go the traditional route and have a publisher take care of the formatting, editing, covers, etc. still leaves the majority of promoting up to the authors.

All of this and they still must carve out those precious moments to write the next book. It’s a brutal balancing act. Exhausting doesn’t even come close to describing the end result. Finishing a manuscript after months and months of hard work is just the beginning. Worthy of major celebration. But then comes the real work. The polishing, the cutting (ouch), the adding, chapter by chapter and after reaching the end, it’s time to do it all over again. You see, in an author’s mind, the story is never really finished. There will always be something to change, tweak or rewrite completely.

I've talked to lots of others, so I know I'm not alone in this madness.

Turning your baby over to someone else to critique, or reject (gulp) is the toughest part of writing in my opinion. This is where an author’s skin must become tough as nails or their dreams will be torn to shreds. So many different views on how one should write, so many different options on how one should publish, an author must be strong and stay true to their own ideas, and yet be flexible enough to change in order to grow. Another critical balancing act.

I know what's going through your head right about now. Writers/Authors must be crazy to continue on with this obsession, right? LOL Well, in a sense, I guess that’s true. Crazy in love with a passion churning from deep within. The rewards hard to explain, but like no other.

Even after all this, trust me when I say, it’s the ultimate addiction ever.

And I absolutely LOVE IT!  :)



Marie said...

Melissa, I absolutely love this post! It has so much joy in it. You are always inspiring and fun. Thanks for the journey of writing. It surely explains a writer's journey..thank you!

Melissa said...

Always love your comments, Marie! Can you see me smiling? ;) I just recently heard someone explain the difference between happiness and joy. Happiness is a surface emotion, while JOY comes from deep within. Helps me keep things in perspective now. Well, most of the time anyway. LOL Have a beautiful day!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post. As you know, I've struggled many years with trying to balance writing with life events and I wasn't successful. It got so bad I simply didn't want to write any more. Funny thing happened.The stories wouldn't get out of my head. (Just like you said!) No matter what I was doing, characters were walking and talking in my brain!! This year has been a bonanza for me and I've rediscovered the joy in writing because the stories refused to be quiet. And joy is the right word- not happiness. There are many times this weird ride called writing doesn't make me happy! Some days I want to pull my hair out, but there's a deep joy that mellows out all the roller coaster highs and lows.

Camelia Miron Skiba said...

Mel love, you nailed it, girl. Yes, yes and yes to all the above. Feels good knowing I'm not alone ;)

Melissa said...

I think that balance is something we will always struggle with, Stacey. In our writing as well as our lives. Here's to pushing forward through it all and enjoying those highs and lows! :)

Melissa said...

LOL Cami! It's always nice to discover we are not alone. :) Heck, you might say we are almost normal!