At my house some things never get done. Like cleaning the garage. Man’s work. My man is newly retired, for about a year, closing on two. Or is it three? No one in living memory has worked so hard for so long. I stand witness to his hours of dedication to employers. They got way more from him than they deserved. He didn’t know how to work reasonably so work became his life. No vacay except once when we went to Outer Banks. Two weeks by the ocean. I slept on the deck for a week. My husband worked. Tried to leave the computer at home but hey, if your husband is a workaholic, you know that’s not on. I believe he deserves to just sit. He’s earned the right.
The ironing, reduced from mountain to hillock, no longer occupies the whole bedroom. I have fresh clothes to wear. I’m a master at avoiding ironing. Now I have time.The book I’ve been writing is as finished as I can make it, until my editor says do this and do that and we’re off to peer review to get to publishing.
Unless you know a writer, no one tells you what it takes to write a book. Writing is the easy part. If you need to labor over every word, rearrange them all a gazillion times, delete, delete, until you decide to do something manageable, like gardening, writing will be a chore you avoid like the plague, even driving you to do the ironing.
Did you know, a huge part of writing is reading. Since my book is a memoir, and since I have never actually written a book before, I bought memoirs until my shelves burgeoned, and read most of all of them. Some were written by authors with little skill, but with fabulous stories that kept me reading. For a reader, it’s the story every time. I’m fairly lenient. I excuse poor grammar, bad punctuation, untidy structure, but not boredom. A boring story doesn’t pay rent on the shelf space. Out it goes.
For the ardent writer, having bought countless how-to books by other authors, searching for the magic formula is fruitless. If it’s readable, you’re halfway home. If you have an engaging life story, a good tale well told, you’re golden. Getting it to market might make you want to open a vein, but don’t do that. Finish the thing that has owned you for so long. I promise, someone is dying to read it. Don’t pass it around to your friends, asking whaddya think. Even if they loved it, few will report. They’ve satisfied their curiosity. Don’t expect more. If you don’t write, frankly, you don’t care.
Keep your book like a juicy secret. When others shyly ask if they can read your manuscript, just say no. Thank them for their interest and get that thing to market. Tout suite. Successful authors know all this. Me? I’m the newbie.