Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Five Things I Hate About Being an Author

Okay, and a little love too. Cross-posting from the Write in the Shadows blog. Feel free to comment either place!

Being an author is a mixed bag, and I’m not sure I could ever top Dawn’s McClure's great list (see it at the WITS link, above). But here goes, in no particular order:

What I hate about being an author:

1) I used to work 40-50 hours a week on a day job, then come home and talk to friends, watch TV, go to movies, and read a lot. Now, I work 40-50 hours a week on a day job, then come home and work four or five more hours a day writing. I feel as if I Work. All. The. Freaking. Time. I enjoy it, but: Dude, I missed the entire final season of LOST. I mean, really.

2) The synopsis. Nothing more needs to be said about such an evil entity.

3) The need for shameless self-promotion. Really. I feel like a publicity whore. Where in all the networking and platforming and tweeting and swimming and diving (well, you know what I mean) does the writing take place? And if I’ve gotta market, can’t I, like, interview male cover models or something?
4) The first draft. Nothing more needs to be said about something so ridiculously painful.
5) The glacial pace at which things happen in the publishing industry. OMG. I could hand-print ten-thousand copies of my first book and hand-deliver each one individually while traveling by pack mule before that freakin’ book launches.

But for the bad and the ugly, there are mitigating goods:

1) Networking. Writers, agents, and editors are incredibly supportive, usually willing to commiserate, and often available to help procrastinate. And you’ve gotta love that.

2) Having complete strangers rip my work to shreds has helped me develop a thicker skin that I’m sure will help me someday. I guess. Ouch.

3) Learning about a new industry is always interesting, and book publishing is a world unto itself. And that was before all the rules started changing.

4) There’s always the hope that the next manuscript, the next big idea, will be The One. Writers are optimists; we have to be. And the anticipation is an amazing rush.

5) It’s cool to be an author. I mean really.


  1. Great lists, Suz! I'd have to add to the bad-times list:

    1) The guilt. When I sleep in, or read a book, or do anything instead of writing, I feel guilty.

    2) The guilt, part 2. When I write I feel guilty about not spending time with my husband, or calling my grandparents who live on the other side of the world and (always remind me) won't be here forever, or working on that quilt I need to make my nephew because I made one for his cousin...

    But perhaps that's just me.

  2. Quit yer whinging! Everyone knows that writing isn't work. And also it pays phenomenally well. And it's all terribly glamorous. Why don't you just have a movie made of your book? Why don't you get your book on Oprah? Do you know Stephen King?

  3. LOL, Marta--have you met my family, or what? I mean, George Bush wrote a book and he's on Dateline. When will you be on Dateline?

    Ah, Kat. I hear you. I have a 3/4-finished quilt for my niece--the only one of the kids that hasn't gotten a quilt. Uh, did I mention she just turned 4?

  4. Love the list, Suzanne! Really enjoyed the "glacial pace," it made me laugh out loud. =)

  5. Okay, first of all, you really didn't miss anything by missing the last season of Lost. Well, except for looking at Jack and Sawyer and Jin and Sayid (and Hurley, I loves me some Hurley).

    Interviewing male cover models? Really? You need to actually talk to them? Screening them, now THAT's important.

    The rest of it, well, yeah.

  6. Hey, S, Cptn. Sully got a book deal and he was on Oprah and everywhere! I told my parents, "Okay, I just have to convince someone to let me land a plane in the Hudson."

    My friends keep waiting for me to write a "real book."

  7. I know exactly what you mean. I'm going into a hellacious season for music teachers (Christmas) and I still need to write when I get home. Blech, but I wouldn't trade it for anything else.