Ask Me Anything 2017: Is writing work?

Rob Akers asks:

Two questions.

Does it feel like work yet and do you still get emotional when you hold the newest book?

Yes.

Writing a novel certainly is work. I brainstorm, research, outline, write a rough draft exceeding 100,000 words, rassle with my editor’s notes, rewrite, edit, go through copyedits, proofread the typeset manuscript, and contribute to marketing and publicity for the novel.

But it’s great work. Even on days when I’m moaning and griping about having to type one more word, I know I’m privileged. I could be digging ditches for a living, or cleaning gas station toilets. Instead, I’m pulling worlds out of my imagination. When I research, I get to talk to physicists and psychiatrists and pararescuemen. I get to study plot and character and the great human drama that’s embedded in storytelling. I get to turn up the music (Foo Fighters or Muse or the Gladiator soundtrack) and create heroes and heroines and villains and crises and quests out of my imagination.

And when I get a copy of a new novel, I smile and pet it and tell the book it’s a pretty book, a good book. Then I obsessively read it again, hoping I won’t discover typos I missed.

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