GUEST POST - THE LIFE OF A WRITER - FICTION VS. REALITY BY S D O'DONNELL
The Life of a Writer – Fiction vs. Reality
You picture your day relaxed, sitting by a lake, the muses standing behind your shoulder as you write brilliant prose without effort. Or at the computer, pounding away on the keyboard because inspiration requires your fingers to fly in order to catch the words as they rush through your mind. Every word you ever write is perfect, just the way it is. No editing or rewrite required. Best of all, once your work is complete, hordes of readers rush for the privilege and joy of buying your book. And you make so much money someone else cleans your house. Then since all of that work came so effortlessly, you have tons of time to read, to travel the world, to take up painting just because you can.
Now, that’s the life! Unfortunately, it isn’t mine.
On good days, the writing flows. Only on good days. And it never flows so well that I don’t have to edit and rewrite.
More often than not, my typing speed wouldn’t even register on the keyboard radar (if there was one). I tap the keys in thought more than I tap them to enter text. I write a scene. I read it. I hate it. I rewrite it. I reread it. I shrug and move on, even though I’m not completely happy with what I’ve written.
I set a goal to complete ten pages and at the end of the day I have six. I think, “well, it’s better than two.” Because I’ve had days when two pages is all I accomplish. I probably wrote the equivalent of ten pages, or even twenty, to get that two, but two is all I’m left with.
When I finally finish the first complete draft of the book, in reality my work has just begun. Especially because I write mysteries and thrillers, I now have to prune until the pace is right. It’s not just cutting out words. It’s making sure you don’t lose anything important as you do. And that isn’t just NOT cutting things important. It’s cutting three pages and taking the things that were important and including them elsewhere. But just in the form of a single sentence or a word or two.
I might start the day with the idea that I’ll write for five hours and then do all of the other things I need and want to do, like reading, paying the bills, cooking, and cleaning the house. But even if the words don’t flow, I get involved with the story. I’m in a world of my own creation and I can’t tear myself away from it. I want to stay there until I get it right, no matter how much hard work it takes. I want to finish before I stop. First, just this one scene. Then the next. And then, I’d better rewrite that other scene while all the important details are in my head.
What? It’s already six in the evening? What happened to the day?
And don’t even get me started on how much work it is to let people know you’ve got a great book that they are going to love reading. As hard as it was to write the thing? It’s twice as hard to market it.
No, it isn’t what I dreamed life would be like when I started writing fiction full-time. But I love it. I wouldn’t change a thing. I’ve never been happier.
Just, please buy my book, so I can hire someone else to clean my house.
Genre – Murder / Thriller
Rating – PG13 (some foul language, a few short love scenes)