In the spirit of election week (have you voted yet?) this week’s Deb topic is about big decisions we’ve made as writers.
I watched Ann Patchett speak a few years ago and something that she said really stuck with me. I don’t recall her exact words but essentially she said that a profession as a writer was the hardest thing you could ever choose to do. Let me elaborate:
- You decide to put your ass in the chair and write instead of watching TV or playing video games.
- You decide to ignore your family and friends for hours, or days, or weeks to spend time in your imagined world.
- You decide to revisit that world over and over, placating your characters, loving them, hating them, sometimes even killing them.
- You decide to slave over a book for years, sometimes for more than a decade, while your friends question your sincerity and your rationality.
- You decide to cut whole scenes or chapters or characters despite having spent inordinate amounts of time creating them in the first place.
- You decide to seek the opinions of others and sometimes you aren’t sure how honest the opinions are–is it really good or is it just that the person is too nice to tell you otherwise?
- You may decide to shell out big chunks of money for classes to improve your craft, conferences to meet agents and other writers, or for a professional editor to help you clean it all up.
- You decide to stay home and write instead of taking advantage of the fabulous weather, in whatever season.
- You decide to seek publication which likely means queries to agents and rejections from said agents (or maybe not even a response).
- You decide to let your editors tell you what they think will sell, and you must make new choices ranging from edits, to covers, to promotion.
- You decide to open your book to the world, which means the Internet has full license to tell you exactly what they think of the book, good and bad.
There are a zillion other decisions that other writers could add to this list. It is a hard choice, being a writer.
Somehow though, none of this felt like a decision for me. I embarked upon this path because I could not imagine anything else that, in the long run, I would doing enjoy more.