The stuff you don't hear about
It isn’t just about the writing.
Another month has passed and I'm still here. Here's a short essay about the thing I didn't know about writing when I started.
When I was younger, I thought the biggest challenge to becoming a writer was doing the work. Write the book, and everything else falls into place. I worried so much about doing the work I avoided it for fifteen years.
After finally overcoming the fear, I took a few more years learning to tell a cohesive story. When my writing partner Angie and I published our first book, I had written over ten film scripts alone and another seven with her.
We must have figured something out because Along Comes a Wolfe found some small success.
It was all wonderful, and I should've enjoyed it more, but I was too distracted. I was busy worrying about the other side of writing.
See, the other side of being a writer is the stuff we never talk about: the marketing, the accounting, the promoting, and the dozen other tasks required to keep doing the fun part.
In October, Angie and I met every weekday to work on our next book, but also:
- Festival application.
- Funding applications
- Tweaks to the website.
- Fix our print and ebooks on Ingram Spark.
- Plan two newsletters.
- Meet our banker.
- Do a very late GST filing.
- (I'm sure there's other stuff I am forgetting.)
On top of all this, we are balancing our teaching jobs, family responsibilities, and personal well-being.
So when I hear about other writers managing it all successfully, I'm equally jealous but impressed and would love to know how they got their shit together.
My saving grace is that I have a fantastic group of people around me. Angie brings energy and fun to the writing, our editor and publisher Heather always makes us look good (along with her team of people), and my wife and kids are a constant support. I know if any of these people were missing, it would fall apart.
As I continue to pursue writing as a career, the more I'm reminded it's not a solitary pursuit, nor is it just about the writing. A lot of time is wasted working on the little things you don't hear about—and often takes a whole day to complete.
All careers are about time management and balancing meaningful work with the mundane stuff that comes with every job.
So if you can do all that and write the book? Well then, explain it to me, because I'm looking for all the help I can get.
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