Monday, September 19, 2016

Publishing and other forms of insanity

A fellow author offered a link to a blog entry on useful hashtags for writers on Twitter. It was a good article, and if you are interested in writing and Twitter, you can find it here.

What fascinated me was the title at the top of the blog... Publishing... and other forms of insanity.

Insanity. We've all heard about the creative folks who were insane. Creativity has gone hand in hand with insanity since the beginning of time, fair or not.

For years, publishing was what I was working toward. I wanted to publish a book, and I achieved that in 2012 with the release of my first novel.

The experience was exhilarating, but what surprised me is how exposed I felt, and vulnerable, like standing naked on a street corner.

Writing is an intimate practice. Authors craft their novels in relative solitude. I have drooled over writing sheds in backyards or writing retreats in cute B&Bs away from the trials of family life. We get to know our characters' deepest flaws, their desires, what they always thought of themselves that is wrong. And let's face it, some of those flaws come from personal experience. We often have to feel what the character feels to write it well.

So you dive deep into your soul and you feel all the things and put them on the page. Then you send it off for public consumption, where everyone, including your mother, your aunt, your enemy can read it. And you don't do it for riches. There are some authors who break out and make big money, but they are few and far between. Most authors I know aren't in this for the money.

This very much sounds like insanity.

Yet I can't imagine NOT writing. As I write this blog post, I have been in editing for an upcoming novel (news coming soon!) and not working on my WIP. This is making me cranky. Editing is still part of writing, but different. I have to change gears and focus on this novel that I finished ages ago, and debate changes, and as an experienced novelist, I realize every change or suggestion can become the permanent record, in the book everyone will read, maybe even quote.

Take a look at your Twitter feed, I bet there are literary quotes on there that go back for decades, maybe even more. Talk about pressure.

Publishing is insanity, or causes insanity, or only the insane would pursue this.

It will be worth it.

Soldier on, my writer friends, through the insanity, at every level of this process.

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