Anybody can write a book, no?
But as anyone who has stuck it out can second, the initial inspiration is just the place from which you start.
The psychological aspects of writing are such that most people who continue on in the process are probably garden-variety crazy. I mean, here’s a job description for you. Wanted, worker who will:
1). Set grandiose goals, with some insane notion of actually realizing them
2). Work all hours, especially those in the dark of night when some idiosyncratic character quirk wakes one from a peaceful and much-needed sleep, demanding to be immediately jotted down or risk the horror of being forgotten
3). Remains willing to work in complete obscurity for long periods (months into years) before anyone sees the first word
4). Can tolerate an even much-longer time frame before said product is introduced to the public
5). Answers all the gleeful questions of “Oh! You’re writing a book!” from well-meaning friends and relatives with a simple, “Yes.”
6). Can tolerate the litany of down-the-nose looks from that same group when said book isn’t a bestseller, or hasn’t even seen print, years later
7). Responds to repeatedly being humbled to the knees by rejection with perseverance (okay, so this is a bit idealistic. Insert infinite hours of self-doubt and whining before perseverance, but only to oneself and closest friend:)
8). Realizes that those in the business end of the profession (agents, editors, the sales department, reviewers) consider said workers to be a dime a dozen, and that the former and they alone are the sole reason that books sell at all
9). Can endure # 8 without at some point on the meandering journey throwing overripe rutabagas at the above (considered, while humorous to competitors and often colleagues, to be exceedingly bad form)
10). Works well with rejection/criticism ratio to pats on the back of 100:1. Okay, if one is lucky!
11). Can completely distance oneself from the idea of writing and making a living being said in the same sentence
The list could continue into the next millennium, but we get the picture!
But the reason real writers put in the seemingly hours of learning and doing and fighting the market is a different thing entirely from striving for fame (although that too has its appeal), or fortune (okay, so one does learn quickly that there is no glamor in poverty). The answer comes from the same place that some folks run racehorses rather than raising Hereford cows. It’s all about being compelled to strive for a flash of beauty; a brush with greatness. To grasp for a thing that if just for a second is bigger and grander than you; to want a blanket of roses more than beef on the table. It’s about dreams that won’t die.
It’s why we do what we do in spite of all odds, braving those looks and swallowing rejection. And, it’s why somewhere as we speak, in some lonely little room, someone out there is producing greatness.
With this latest release, award-winning author and editor Susan Mary Malone has five traditionally published books to her credit (fiction and nonfiction) and many published short stories. A freelance editor, forty-plus Malone-edited books have now sold to traditional publishers. You can see more about her, and what authors say about working with her, at: MaloneEditorial.com