By Katrin Schumann
How long does it really take to write a book? From beginning the first draft to seeing it on bookshelves? It's generally accepted that more books = more success/ happiness. But what does being "productive" really mean, and does it make you happy as a writer?
I used to think the solution to almost all writerly problems lay in having more time—a comforting thought since I had so very little of that particular commodity. Simple, I thought: when I have more time, I'll do more writing, and I'll be happy and productive.
On some level ...
Last year, I didn't make any New Year's resolutions. Frankly, I was tired of pushing myself so hard, and I thought: hey, how about I just try my best this year? It felt like a gentle enough goal given that I had just started a new job and my first novel was about to be published. While I knew quite a bit about what was ahead (I'd published nonfiction before), I had very little idea about whether the outcome for this book would be good, bad or indifferent, and how I would end up feeling about it all
In the past few years, I've done an enormous amount of editing. I work as a manuscript consultant and help other writers develop their books, and I've (almost completely) rewritten two novels. Here are some of the things I've learned about the editing process:
TOP FALSE ASSUMPTIONS EDITING CLIENTS MAKE
1. An editor will "fix" your manuscript. (An editor can help you fix it.)
The first time you publish a book, it’s a pretty surreal experience. First you wallow deliciously in the dreams and hopes that have built up inside you for years. Eventually, you learn to deal with the inflated expectations that breathless articles about the writing life have created in you. And then, when you make a sale, you have to wade through a lot of conflicting information: reconciling what your publisher promises with the sometimes demoralizing advice you get from other first-time authors (who often just don’t seem quite as happy as you think they should be).
With an eye to ...
The October 2019 edition of "Writing Life Essentials," a monthly hand-curated list of contests, grants, scholarships, submissions calls, and awards, with a focus on opportunities that are at least one of the following: local, free to apply, and/or committed to celebrating and supporting writers from historically marginalized communities. We do the research, so you have more time for what matters: the writing. Or, slaying zombies. That matters too.