Sunday, September 18, 2011

Blood, Sweat & Tears

82,323 words, 284 pages, 29 chapters. Can I sit down and have a good cry now? Finally, I've sent off copies to my volunteers of The Price of Deception to read and comment. I'm tired, spent, drained, and sick of reading what I wrote. Editing is a bitch (excuse my language) and it ain't over yet (now really excuse my language).

So where does the blood, sweat, and tears come in?

The Blood - I guess I equate the blood part to various aspects of being an author. It's the pain you go through being a writer from the voices in your head to the critical, and sometimes cruel voices in your reviews. When you pour your soul into any work, you bleed. A part of you becomes imprinted upon the page. Your thoughts, struggles, and life experiences are woven between the chapters and hidden in certain words. Usually, your readers are none the wiser they exist, but they do.

Once your DNA is in the work, then comes the blood from people who don't like your work. They take a piece of your flesh and write a snide review that's hurtful, rather than filled with constructive criticism. It's not only readers who review, but fellow peers in a spirit of competitiveness. Constructive criticism is welcome; but vindictiveness to destroy another person's work is not. Whether the work is great or stinks, authors are very attached to their work. Every book produces some drops of blood throughout the process, but that's it - it's the process. You need to be tough skinned so you don't bleed too much. There are no transfusions to replace what you've lost.

The Sweat - It's the hours writing. It's the voices in your head. It's the plotting. It's the point of view. It's the tense. It's the overused words. It's the dialogue. It's the punctuation. It's those grammar classes you never paid attention to in grade school coming back to bite you. Frankly, it's just plain work, and it makes you sweat.

After the work of writing, comes the release and getting the book ready to throw out into the world of readers. It's the formatting, the cover art, the copyright registration, the Library of Congress, the ISBN assignment, and on and on. When you are released through distribution channels, then comes the sweat of marketing. On top of it, you sweat worrying about what people will think about it and hope you don't have to bleed too much over your creation when the comments start rolling in. As an author, I can assure you, there is no antiperspirant available to prevent the sweat you produce when you write a book.

The Tears - The tears come become you're emotionally involved in your work, your characters, and your story. There are moments when you write fiction, the pain hits home. It reminds you of your own hurt inside, or you feel real empathy for the plight of person you're writing about! You cry over their pain and the outcome of their lives. Emotional involvement in your characters is an inevitable part of being an author. Frankly, I think without it, our characters are dry and lifeless.

Then there are tears of release when you hold the printed book in your hand and flip through the pages and you see all the words. It's emotional. You did it! Then, you ask yourself - "where did I come up with this stuff?" You cry, because you're doing what you're suppose to do in life. Then you cry, when people trash your work, and you cry and rejoice when people praise your work. Most authors have a bucket of tears in their closet. I often take solace in a scripture in Psalms that says God takes our tears, puts them in a bottle, and records them in His book. Perhaps none of my tears then have gone to waste.

You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. (Psalm 56:8) - New Living Translation

How do I deal with the tears? I keep tissues boxes strategically placed throughout my home and work place.

Is it worth it all? Yes.

I first knew I wanted to write in grade school. It's been engrained in my brain, imprinted on my soul, and a driving force behind my fingers. It's foolish for me to think that I'm terrific at my craft, because I'm not. I'm an average Jane out in the world of thousands of books released each year. I'm continually learning how to write better. I'm not traditionally published, nor do I want to be right now. It's not the route I've chosen for many reasons.

I don't make enough to quit my day job, but since I've released my first book in 2009, I've never had a month I didn't sell a book either. My sales are increasing, for which I'm very grateful, especially with The Price of Innocence.

To be very frank, stories fill my head constantly. I have them lined up like planes on a runway - believe me, there are plenty of them. There's no way I can leave them; they all demand liftoff and a place to soar. That's my hope, anyway, if God let's me live long enough to see them take flight. Each time I do, I'll be taking the same journey of blood, sweat, and tears with each one I write.

Here's hoping my beta readers like the story. Book Three, The Price of Love, is starting to ooze from my pores, so I need to get on with it. Thank you to all my faithful readers who support me and care about my work. It means the world to me. Because of you, I boot up my computer everyday and write.

1 comment:

Vicki Hopkins, Author said...

sandi
September 18, 2011 at 6:15 pm as Posted on WordPress

Wow Vicki..I dont think any reader really realizes what an author goes threw or feels while putting their heart and soul each and every time they sit down to let what’s inside them out onto the page. I know after reading one of your books, how much of that did go into it. I am so looking forward to reading this series when done! :)