I think I surprised some people by actually completing “Just Friends With Benefits”. Apparently, countless people talk about writing a book but never actually do. And others start writing and after ten pages get distracted by something on the television or a text message. Still others have a great premise for a book. They know where the book will begin and how it will end but they can’t quite get their hands around the middle. So when I managed to write a cohesive novel with a beginning, middle and end with ups and downs, conflict and resolution and a satisfying conclusion, people were both impressed and surprised.
I don’t mean to suggest that I deserve unlimited accolades for writing a book. I consider myself blessed that God was somewhat generous with me when he gave me my imagination and an ability to put thoughts into writing. (He wasn’t so generous with a singing voice, handwriting, balance or breasts.) But writing a fiction novel is not an easy feat. (I am focusing on fiction since I’ve never written a memoir, self-help book or any other form of non-fiction.) Writing a novel takes imagination, inherent creative writing talent and technical skills as well as patience, perseverance and time. I work full time as a trademark paralegal and had to use my free time to write my book. This necessitated making choices as to how to spend that time. Should I watch today’s episode of General Hospital on SoapNet or write? Do I want to spend the day writing even if it means I’ll miss the picnic in Central Park or Happy Hour with my friends? In the battle between Writing and Leisure, leisure sometimes won but writing often came out on top.
Writing a book took sacrifices for sure, but I guess I wanted it badly enough to give up other opportunities to get the job done. I’m a runner as well but haven’t found the time to train for a marathon which tells me I just don’t want to run the marathon badly enough.
Writing is also my favorite escape. When I run, I often get lost in thought, focusing on who I’m dating, how many books I’ve sold, when I’m going to have time to finish book #2, my work docket etc. While running is a stress reliever, it also tends to bring my deepest feelings to the surface. On the other hand when I’m writing, I lose myself completely in my character’s worlds and forget mine temporarily. I’ve been very grateful for this escape many times over the past several years.
So, no, writing is not easy but, for me, the pleasure more than outweighs the pain. And now that I’ve gone beyond writing a book to actually getting a publishing contract and trying to promote it, I can tell you from experience that as difficult as writing can be, it was the easiest part of the process.
In today’s battle between Writing and Working, work must win – my lunch hour is over. But stay tuned for my blogs on the more challenging aspects of being a writer (at least from my own perspective) – the publishing process – 1) creating the perfect “query” and synopsis and dealing with rejection and 2) marketing – “Why aren’t people “liking” my Facebook fan page? “How come ‘so and so’ STILL hasn’t bought the book”, and how can I promote the book without being annoying? Hard times indeed!!
Until next time,