Sunday, November 7, 2010

You've Gotta Love It

I was thinking about this the other day -- no wonder some people in my life used to (and still do?) view my passion for writing as "crazy." Let's do the math, shall we?

17 years
8 and 1/2 novels
3,000 pages (give or take)
150 agents (<--that was just the round of agents from 2010 - doesn't even count previous years)
hundreds of hours spent researching agents
hundreds, probably thousands of dollars spent sending out batches of chapters and full manuscripts (one, Fed-Exed at the agent's request, was $80!!)
= incredible amounts of time and money.

Income I've actually earned from all this, so far? ZERO, zip, nada. Not a single dime.

Okay, yep, that's insane. Who else would spend that many hours, that much money, on something with NO GUARANTEE of getting rewarded monetarily, or even rewarded emotionally (ie, other people reading what I've created and enjoying it)?

My conclusion after seeing this in black and white -- you gotta love it. You have to LOVE writing to put up with its frustrations, setbacks, criticism, and agony.

And, truly, if I ever had any doubt about my sole purpose for writing (which is to write, and not to get published, as the primary or sole goal), doing the math showed me for sure. Because I would've given up AGES ago, trust me, if publication had been my only goal. Because it's just too hard. And too expensive. And too unsure.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - if someone could see my future inside a crystal ball and tell me with absolute certainty that my books would never be published, I would NOT STOP WRITING THEM. I guess that's the true test.

I have to write. I want to write.

If I get published, YAY!! But if I don't, so be it.


  1. Great attitude. I think if we remember that we write for our own personal satisfaction FIRST, then we will all say sane in this crazy world of publishing.

  2. I'm curious if any of those 8 1/2 novels you wrote pre-agent will ever see publication, or are they all considered learning experiences.

    Still, glad you've kept at it. It's inspiring.

  3. Hey, MC! ;-) That's a great question. 3 and 1/2 of those novels are my series books, and they're the ones (imo) that are the strongest because they're the most recently-written. So, hopefully, those will be published (my agent is pitching them as a 3-book deal right now, so maybe if one is sold, all 3 (and a 4th) will be sold? Maybe only in my dreams, lol....

    As for those other 5, the first one is HORRIBLE, lol (it was a true experiment - it has so many cliches, plot holes, etc - but it was absolutely necessary for me to learn from it). The 2nd novel is something I'd LOVE to rework, knowing what I know now. I still think it has a shot, but definitely not in its current state.

    But the other three...I don't have a strong attachment to them, and wouldn't be devastated if they never saw the light of day, lol. They're just not my best work, and they weren't something I was passionate about.

  4. I remember reading a great article from an editor about investing in your writing career. The hours and money you've put into your work are an investment, like any business, and you're lucky to be getting into a business that you love so passionately. The numbers do sound 'crazy' but if you're heart is in it, doesn't sound so crazy to me. Best of luck to you!

  5. Melissa - what a great way to see the writing process, as an investment. Excellent advice.