Writing is work.
I wish it was only fun. There is real joy in creating stories, crafting mythologies, sculpting characters, and weaving storylines. There’s something magical in discovering surprises you laid for yourself. I actually do enjoy revising stories and shining them up.
But if you intend to be successful as an author, it also takes a lot of work.
Today I’ve edited 100 pages of a novel. That took literal hours, butt in chair, hands on keyboard, looking at every single line of those 100 pages. Should this phrase be capitalized? How about that verb tense? Oh, that sentence needs strengthening.
My brain is now a gelatinous cube with less intelligence.
Thankfully, hopefully, this will be my last major pass over the novel. After this it goes out to beta readers. And then I wait for feedback.
That feedback can be a lot of fun… but it can also be painful. It’s work to listen to what your readers say. Of course they’re giving opinions in good faith, but then you need to figure out how to weigh those opinions. Time to change the story? Recognize the validity of their opinion but choose to ignore it?
And once all that happens… then what?
Self-publish? Pitch it to agents? Send it in to a publisher that accepts unagented manuscripts?
Each one of those takes a different path. Sure, some of it will be related. No matter what, I’ll need to sell the story. That takes work!
But if I’m self-publishing, well, time to figure out what I’m doing for a cover.
If I’m looking for an agent, well, time to see what agents are accepting manuscripts, and who of those are interested in epic fantasy.
If I’m going to submit unagented, I need to put together a pitch and find out when various publishers accept manuscripts.
In other words, writing itself is work, but once you’re done with raw creation… there’s so much more to do.
And that’s what I want you to know. If you write and you intend to publish, know that your work is good. Oh, it is so good to create. To look upon your story with satisfaction and know you have made something that no one else could create.
But know that creation is just the beginning of the journey.
Is the rest of the work good? I’d say I’ve enjoyed the work that goes into my short stories. I’ve never done the work for a novel before, though, so… I guess I’ll learn as I go!
And I’m doing it!
2 thoughts on “The Work that Comes After the Writing”
My second and third drafts of my manuscript were sheer hell, and because I’m unagented, I pretty much am on my own from end to end. Agree with you that the polishing bit sucks, and so does the pitching. All the best with your writing endeavours!
Yeah, putting together the pitch is going to be… a challenge. I’ll just phrase it that way!