By C. Hope Clark-
I’m staring at a screen, after an extremely frustrating, full day of writing and editing. Mostly editing. Without going into details, I fought with a full manuscript edit for almost eight hours one day this week. I edited an entire novel only for the edits not to save properly. There’s a long story about a corrupted file. Needless to say, I cursed and shed a few sloppy tears on my napkin beside the dinner hubby cooked and brought to me so I wouldn’t lose my rhythm.
On top of that, I learned my deadline was changing a little bit for Tidewater Murder, which really crimped my style pertaining to a certain speaking engagement. That change sucked the wind right out of my sails for a while. Maybe I shed a couple more tears. Hubby pulled my door closed for a while, leaving me alone.
So, once I reached a stopping place, and settled down, I made myself write this editorial. Why? Because I’m frustrated and wanted to know how I’d write in that frame of mind . . . and to show those of you who aren’t writing full time that writing for a living can have some seriously catastrophic days that make you want to throw up your hands and simply say “WHY DO I DO THIS?”
I’ve sat at conferences watching the speaker smile, chuckle, and talk about how hard writing is, but then preach/lecture/instruct the audience to just stick it out. (finger snap) Just like that you’re supposed to decide that nothing will stop you. No emotion in the lesson. All tell and no show.
I want to wipe that smile off that successful face and ask them to SHOW me. Quit TELLING. I want them to show me through detailed anecdotes. . .
1. How they almost quit one night over a rejection;
2. How they wanted to strangle an editor;
3. How they behaved when they lost an entire story on the computer;
4. How, after ten chapters, they realized the story had no purpose.
Or how about answering these questions:
1. How much money did they really make on that self-pubbed book?
2. Did they ever make a fool of themselves with an editor/agent?
3. When did they make a bad decision on selling rights?
4. After expenses, how much money do they really net after a traditional publisher kept 92% of the print proceeds and 75% of the ebook gross earnings?
5. Was there ever a time he was a bad writer?
6. How did that one-star review REALLY make him feel?
Give me the dirt . . . all of it. Why? Because I need to know what’s coming at me. I need to understand that there will be
nights like this, where I doubt myself and crave an easier life.
We write for the satisfaction. But no one tells us about the nights we feel like our writing sucks, or that the planets are aligned against us. Those are the times that define us in this profession. Coming out on the other side of those bad nights intact, with the shards of our wits swept up off the floor, with lessons painfully learned leaving deep scars behind, makes us decent writers.
No pain, no glory.
Okay. Big sigh. Excuse me while I return to beat up my keyboard.
BIO – C. Hope Clark is editor of FundsforWriters.com and author of The Carolina Slade Mystery Series. www.fundsforwriters.com / www.chopeclark.com