- the perfect story idea,
- the time and energy to write,
- input from critique partners and beta readers,
- responses to query letters, partials, and full request,
- agent offers and editorial feedback,
- editor submission responses,
- offers of publication,
- editorial letters, line edits, copyedits, first pass pages, second pass pages
- cover designs, advance reader copies, finished books
- reviews, sales, royalty statements
Rejection and dejection can come at any of those stages, and they do come. This process is brutal. It makes us question who we are and what we do.
But it's worth it.
I don't know at this point whether the scenes I'm worried about are going to make it past my agent or editor. They are risky scenes. They are scary scenes. They made me cry and they exhausted me as I was writing them--and the whole book is different than I expected it would be.
But it's worth it.
I'm an emotional noodle today. I didn't even get this post written last night, or earlier this morning, because I have no energy left. I am filled with doubt and fear and cringing anticipation.
But it's worth it.
Why? Because this thing we do, writing, is magic. As much as I don't love the waiting and the doubt, I love the writing. I love the way seeds I didn't even know I had planted grow to become meaningful in later chapters, and I love how seemingly unrelated themes or facts become part of something big and whole and beautiful.
Someone asked me yesterday whether I had any advice for aspiring authors. My advice is to fall in love with the writing. Love the process, not the words. Words don't matter that much. Love the characters and their stories so that no amount of revision or editing tests your patience.
Becoming an author means learning to tell the stories that only we can tell, in the way that will best communicate what we mean to readers. As authors, we lay ourselves open, and we hope that what readers find on the pages is what was in our hearts and minds as we were writing. That's a scary, scary thing, because every reader reads our stories through the filters of their own experiences. They brings their own stories, their own ideas, their own expectations to our pages.
And that is not just worth it, for me, that's the single greatest joy of being an author. It's great to hear that readers get what we are trying to say, but it's even better to hear how that affects them.
As writers, what is your greatest joy? And as a reader, what's your favorite thing to discover in a book?
YA GIVEAWAY OF THE WEEK
by Rainbow Rowell
"Hi, I'm the guy who reads your e-mail, and also, I love you . . . "
From the award-winning author of Eleanor & Park and Fangirl comes a hilarious and heartfelt novel about love in the workplace.
Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder know that somebody is monitoring their work e-mail. (Everybody in the newsroom knows. It's company policy.) But they can't quite bring themselves to take it seriously. They go on sending each other endless and endlessly hilarious e-mails, discussing every aspect of their personal lives.
Meanwhile, Lincoln O'Neill can't believe this is his job now- reading other people's e-mail. When he applied to be "internet security officer," he pictured himself building firewalls and crushing hackers- not writing up a report every time a sports reporter forwards a dirty joke.
When Lincoln comes across Beth's and Jennifer's messages, he knows he should turn them in. But he can't help being entertained-and captivated-by their stories.
By the time Lincoln realizes he's falling for Beth, it's way too late to introduce himself.
What would he say . . . ?
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