i love the smell of email in the evening

At 6:19 p.m. this evening, I hit “send” on the latest manuscript for my upcoming unhinged memoir, complete with a fresh round of edits/fixes/tweaks/trims/adds. I mention this for two reasons. First, because as Chris always said, “There are so few triumphs in this business, you have to celebrate each small victory along the way.”

And second, because I’m reminded that WRITING IS BLASTED HARD. I wonder sometimes why I do it. It’s not as though it’s gets any easier with practice, like whistling, kissing or algebra; au contraire, in some ways it’s gotten harder, as my standards have risen (and my tolerance for dreck has declined). I would compare the anguish involved to pulling out my own teeth one by one with rusty pliers, except that at some point in the last thirty-plus years I would have run out of teeth.

And writing a book: you have to be nuts to do that. Speaking of comparisons, having a baby is one analogy I’ve heard here and there — but as a woman who has endured both processes on three separate occasions, I can confirm that book-writing takes way longer and hurts way worse. Also, no book is anywhere near as cute as a newborn, although it must be said that a book doesn’t puke on you, either.

All the same, I breathed a big, sighing gulp of relief tonight. I wouldn’t say the manuscript is finished, because that’s up to my editor to say — and no manuscript is ever truly done. You don’t finish writing it. You just stop, satisfied that you’ll never be satisfied. Then you drop in a boneless heap next to your bloody keyboard, spent but triumphant.

8 thoughts on “i love the smell of email in the evening

  1. Yep, my experience as well and I’m glad to know writing books is way more painful to having babies. As for the length? I’ve characterized it as “elephant gestation.” I’ve also vowed, during and afterward (while roiling with book postpartum depression), to never ever ever write another book. Then, I get all amnesiac-ish about the pain and starting writing another one. Apparently I have a deep commitment to…? Something neither good nor healthy.

  2. I’m grateful for the quality of your writing, and for how present you are in it. You make me feel as though we’re in the same room sharing life experiences –even though I don’t get a turn to talk.

  3. As an indie writer of mystery novels, I find the writing much more fun and satisfying than the marketing. My husband’s godson told me I shouldn’t stop with four books, four being an unlucky number (in China, as it turns out). So off to my keyboard I go again – mostly familiar characters, new plot – and maybe someday I’ll get back to platform, brand, product, etc. for my books that are already out there.

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