Okay, I’ve known this was coming for a while now, and like anything worthwhile it deserved some thought.
We’ve all seen those posts that start with numbers, and most of the time they make me cringe, but there are many exceptions, and I hope this is one of them. I got to thinking the other day that writing a book is a lot like having a child. The amount of ways I found was a surprisingly round number– 10.
Here they are, pretty much in the order they seem to happen:
- It takes a certain level of maturity and commitment. Let’s face it, before a certain age, it’s highly improbable. Also it should probably not be attempted unless you’re sure it’s what you want, as it requires a lot of you.
- There is a required gestation period. It takes time for even a great idea or character to develop into a viable work.
- There is a massive amount of labor involved. There’s no free lunch, everything worth having is worth the work involved.
- There are several big pushes at the end. There’s the push to finish the draft, the push(es) to revise and edit the manuscript, and then the push(es) publish and/or sell the book.
- It keeps you up nights. All that pushing, and there is still all that marketing and paperwork, the networking and the platform upkeep.
- It drives you ever so slightly insane. Between the caffeine, the hours, and the constant churning of the next new idea, writing is definitely the realm of the slightly mad. But it’s okay, this is where we live now…
- You spend loads of time molding it into something worthwhile. I mentioned the revisions before, but sometimes even after you’ve got it done, there are things to be re-considered and reshaped. Until all of the marketing materials are in place and the final elevator pitches are polished, your book isn’t all it could be.
- Eventually it has to leave the nest and go out into the big bad world. With all of this done, and more revisions and edits than you ever thought you could stomach, it has to be able to stand on its own– even if it’s part of a series.
- It’s always your baby, if only one of several. Rejections hurt, even after steeling yourself against them. They’re just a part of growing up, like skinned knees and elbows. Try not to worry too much.
- You’re always proud of it, even if you never admit it to another soul. Even if you look back on your first book twenty or thirty years from now and think it sounds juvenile or just plain bad, it will always be your first baby– I mean book, and it will always have a special place in your heart and history.