Morning Coffee: The Writing Life

Despite popular belief, we can’t write a book in the same time it takes to read one . . . at least, not a good book. It can take months, sometimes even years, to get it right. It’s a painful process of trial and error, elation followed by spiraling self-doubt. We subject our friends and family—anyone who will listen or are too slow to get away—to every idea, good or bad, running in circles through our brain like rabbits in heat.

I was thinking my heroine should ____ instead of _________. Don’t you agree?

I finally figured out how to fill that plot hole. What do you think of ________? Genius, right?

And even after we finish our cherished, perfect-in-our-mind, draft and send it on to our editor expecting rave reviews, we face several rounds of edits to fix all the problems we thought we fixed in the first place. It’s a pain-staking and humbling experience fueled by late nights and gallons of coffee.

There’s formatting and cover art to decide on. The back cover blurb can be more difficult to get right than the book itself. Advertising is never ending. Even writers with a world-wide adoring fan base have to promote each book as if it’s their first because our readers are fickle. Every book has to be better than the last or we risk them moving on to someone else. There are many good books, many amazing authors, out there to choose from.

We have promotions. We submit our work to competitions in order to be read by the “right” people. Those people who know other people. We travel to book signings to meet with you in person and maybe have our picture taken. See, we’re real. If you cut us, we do bleed. We practically beg for reviews.

And at the end of the day, we fall into bed exhausted, only to get up the next morning and start all over again with the next book.