There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” – Ernest Hemingway
That’s one of the most popular quotations floating around social media boards frequented by writers. And it’s true. Writing is only as hard as the author’s ability to be open, to lay herself naked to a world of readers.
Uncle Ernest had it easy. He lived in the days before the internet.
In so many ways, today’s authors are very fortunate. We can interact with our readers instantly; we don’t have piles of letters to answer, and we can share new information right away. But at the same time, that accessibility is a curse, because it can be a very big drain on our limit time and strength.
Let me show you what I mean. I wake up in the morning, and immediately I’m given a report on yesterday’s sales. That can be good news or bad news, but I know it, right away. And I usually wake up to messages and emails from readers (especially those around the world, whose time zone is different than ours), from promoters, from fellow authors and from other people in the industry. I respond to the ones requiring immediate answers and flag those I’ll handle later.
Each day, I chat with readers. That’s the part of the job I love. I follow up on the commitments I’ve made to bloggers and other on-line personalities. And then there’s the event work.
I’m committed to attend six events next year. Each event requires me to spend time promoting it to readers, building up ticket purchases and hotel reservations. I love to share the information with my readers, and because I care about the events and the people making them happen, it’s a privilege to do this. But it does take time. “Just five minutes” here and there turns into an hour.
I talk with new or about-to-be-new authors, giving them information and advice. I try to calm nerves and encourage.
I love what I do. Writing is a joy, and sharing it with others is beyond the telling of it amazing. Every part is something I enjoy doing. . .it’s just that when you put them together, they add up to a more than full time job. I’ve known authors who get so wrapped up in the extras, they lose sight of the reason they’re doing this. It’s important not to do that.
And now I’ve got to get back to it. To the pure writing part. . .which is the point of all of this, right?