It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint

This is a re-post from earlier this year, but I really like it so I’m running it again 🙂
I belong to a writing critique group and during a meeting one of the members said something that got me thinking.
 
“Christi, all you’ve done lately is revise chapter after chapter of your novel and work on your synopsis, proposal, and loglines. You’re putting so much effort into making everything absolutely perfect that it doesn’t seem you get to have fun with your writing anymore.”
 
He’s right. It is hard work doing all the things needed to get published. Writing and polishing my novel was only the beginning. Creating the synopsis was tedious at best, the pitch sentence took days, and the book proposal, though finished, is still woefully inadequate and will need additional revisions. Don’t even get me started on the query letter.
 
The path to publication is also expensive. Writing conferences, reams of paper, printer cartridges, “how to write” books, membership dues to various writing clubs—all these costs add up quick.
 
Then there’s the social networking aspect to make sure you can actually sell your book once a publisher takes you on. Facebook, Twitter, blogging, building a platform, writing your bio, maintaining an email database and sending out newsletters to every person that expressed any interest whatsoever about your writing, and finally reading, and commenting on, fellow author blogs.
 
Don’t forget about the staggering amount of time it takes for a successful career in writing. First there’s hours, days, years spent in front of the computer researching, writing and revising your own work. Then you’ve got to find and read comparable works for reference and to make sure your own measures up, critique partner manuscripts, and somewhere in there you’ve got to read for pleasure.
 
After all that, when you’ve honed every last word of your manuscript/query letter/synopsis/book proposal/logline/pitch to shining perfection you send your work out. Then comes the crushing blows of all the various stages of rejection. And fighting back the self-doubt. And the niggling fear in the back of your mind of “Am I good enough?”
 
Publishing is not for the weak, and even the most determined writer needs to take a break and regroup from time to time. I am no exception.
 
This last week I decided to relax for a bit since I’ve been working so hard lately. But, during my time off, book two in the series (the sequel to my first novel) continued to wait, patiently beckoning, knowing I can’t resist. The fourth night of my self-imposed “writing rest” found me thumbing through the pages longingly and soon I found myself filling the margins with notes and ideas.
 
It was during this moment when I realized, to an extent, my writing critique partner is right. This is the part that I love the most. As I flip through page after page of my “already written but needing a serious revision sequel” ideas come forth and make their way to the paper with no worries of storyline, word choice, grammar–all the things that slow the flow of ideas.
 
However, my ultimate goal is seeing my book(s) published. And since the “business” part of writing is how they’ll get on those shelves, consider me a businesswoman!
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5 thoughts on “It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint

  1. Ramblings,

    Love the Charlie Brown reference, especially since we watched the Halloween one last weekend (while letting our twins decorate the house).

    Favorite quote from the movie…”Never jumped into a pile of leaves with a wet sucker.”

    Happy Monday!

    Christi

  2. Writing is tones of work. You know that. I know that. Anyone serious about writing knows that. Many people who do not write, however, are under the impression that it is an easy thing for us to do. We sit at the computer and words flow. Well yes, sometimes they do flow. But we always go back later and revise again and again, don’t we? lol!

    And then , as you say, it does not stop at the writing. There’s plenty more work to do even after the book is on the shelves.

    Great post, Christi!

  3. Laura,

    I totally agree with your statement about non-writers thinking the words just flow for us.

    My words flowed easily once upon a time…in a brain-purging rush known as my first draft :).

    Then the real work began…

    Thanks for stopping by,
    Christi

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