Writing is such a solitary life that sometimes I go whole weeks without leaving the house. If not for my husband, I’d have no human interaction at all. This week, I’m revising my latest book so that I can turn it in to my editor and move on to the next story. For some reason, it’s really hard this time. Not the revisions, which aren’t that bad, but the sitting and working.
I want to go shopping. I want to have lunch with friends. I want to read and do some things around the house that need doing. I want to wake up and have the whole day free to myself.
I love what I do, make no mistake. But sometimes it’s so lonely that I just want to pick up the phone and call a friend (and I’m not much of a telephone talker, I assure you). I think I’m also a bit irritated about things going on in publishing these days. It’s an exciting time to be a writer. There are more opportunities than ever to get your work out there, but there’s also a whole lot of gasbaggery going on in regards to the various publishing methods and who thinks they are right, right, right about which method is best.
All the white noise makes it hard to concentrate sometimes.
Perhaps there’s so much discourse online because we’re all living that solitary life, and that’s where we turn for interaction. It’s good to have that online connection, but it’s also isolating in its own way. I know I should turn it off, and yet at times like this, I think if I turned it off I’d have no interaction at all.
And then there’s the fear and uncertainty while working on a book. Is this the worst book ever written? Or is it pretty good? Will this one end my career? Or will I get fan mail telling me how much someone loved it? That’s one of the hardest things to deal with, friends. The idea that you don’t want to disappoint anyone, but knowing you will. Knowing that someone will hate your work no matter what you do and will take to the internet to say bad things about you, the book, and your poor cat too.
You can’t write with the aim to please everyone, and I promise you I don’t, but it’s difficult sometimes to imagine all the crap you’re going to get for that virgin heroine, or the secret baby, or the bodyguard hero. There’s a lot of second-guessing in the writerly life, I think. There is for me, though I’ve never changed something or done something just to make it easier for someone to stomach.
So, I’m back to these revisions while turning my head to stare out the window from time to time and sighing wistfully. (Yes, I know I just spent two weeks in Europe, and maybe that’s part of the problem — like going from 100mph to a full stop in the space of a second.) In the meantime, I’m going to think about the upcoming holiday, the fact my in-laws will be visiting, and all the yummy things we’re going to eat. And then I get to look forward to a friend’s visit where we will discuss books and plots and all things writerly for one nice long weekend.
Yes, writing is a solitary life — but it’s also a pretty darn good one. I’m writing this in my pajamas and there is no commute. 😉