Imagine, working 40+ hours or more, taking care of your home, preparing meals, cutting the grass, doing dishes, doing the laundry, raising your kids, snuggling your spouse, and if you can imagine, writing a novel or string of short stories in your spare time. Does that sound overwhelming? Sound impossible? Oh just wait; it only gets better! The road to publication leads straight to crazyville. Trust me.
As busy and overcrowded as our social calenders are today, writers have to do soooo much more. Really, it's quite ridiculous what a dedicated, craft-perfecting, publishing world understudy, platform building writer must do to not only get in print, but to actually sell a book or two. If you think writing 60,000-120,000 words every six months or once a year is a lot to add to your itinerary, get a load of this "To-Do List". The following is a run down of all the things that literary-artists must do throughout the process of not only writing a book, but getting it into print, into the beloved reader's hands. Major disclosure here: I only have one book in print and one short story in the Kindle store. However, I have written two other novels that are either under publisher consideration or in revision. Here's the list (wears me out just thinking about it):
- Create - We first have to create/dream up our idea, design characters, plot, research and finally write lots of words that make sense, are fun or thought provoking, and enjoyable to read.
- Next, writers have to go back through the entire manuscript with a fine-toothed-comb once, twice, three times or more, adding flavor and color and fill in the holes with meaningful and emotionally ingniting details.
- After, or perhaps while we add the salt and pepper, we have to self-edit, which of course is another realm all its own, one that requires much study and reading to really be a good self-editor.
- Once we are happy with our masterpiece (which is an oxymoron - we're never 100% happy with our work) we usually send the manuscript to a few trusted readers who will be cutthroatingly honest with us, so they can show us all the mistakes we missed. And then of course, we have to revise the work all over again. Do you see how tedious this is?
- Okay, so now the book is done, or so we think. With much excitement, we print it off and send it to a large publisher who is overjoyed that we have graced them with our wonderful story! Pffft! Yeah right! Don't even think about it, unless your a bestseller like Stephen King, Dean Koontz, or some other celebrity. Oh, no. Regular writers have much to do before the manuscript gets into the hands of an editor or agent. Yes, we still have a long road ahead.
- We have to write a query letter (Uh huh,whatever that is), a short and a long synopsis and we have to do lots of research just to find the right agent or publisher, only to discover that 90% of them will stamp a big red REJECT on our baby, our magnum opus, our chef-d'œuvre! What are they thinking???
- Then hopefully, enter the "We'd like to read the full manuscript" response (And you'll be glad to know I have a book in that stage right now. Yes I'm excited.), which hopefully will lead to publication.
- But wait! There's more! Whether you publish traditionally or self-publish, you still have more editing, more revisions, book art, back blurbs to write, website building, Twittering, Facebooking, contact making, writer's confrerencing, press releasing, book signings, video making and blogging tours to do!!!!!!!! Ahhhhhhh! Make it stop! Please, make it STOP!
See, I told you this was dangerous territory. And you know what's more? Most writers continue writing their next book in between all that other stuff. It's amazing really. Brings a tear to my eye everytime I think about it (mostly because writing has driven me bananas). Why do it then, you ask? Well, that's a bit complicated and most likely has a wide range of answers depending on the author. Some write for money or fame or creative/emotional release or just for the love of the story. For me, it's all of the above, not necessarily in that order. And yet...the writers of the world pursue their passion for the pen at their own peril. And if you're a reader, know this; in the words of Bryan Adams, we do it all for you. BOOM!