Writing novels as a career is a really strange job. I think it involves a certain amount of mental illness because there's the creative aspect of it -- you have to understand people and how they work, and what motivates them. But then, you have to understand the business aspects too. How is a publisher's distribution? What percentage/advance ratio is best for both pub and writer? Is marketing necessary? Does a publicist work? The insecurity that is in a writer is in Nora Roberts and Stephen King, too. Don't believe me? If their novel stays at #1 for two less weeks than their last book? You can bet they stop and obsess over what went wrong
with this book, that it only stayed on the bestseller list for one year instead of two!
As a writer, you can't believe in the work alone and that's the business end of things. Sadly, it's a fact of life. No, I don't know if it is sad, it protects both publisher and writer and that's why when someone tells you that your idea stinks? It just might. Example: If you write the most brilliant novel on something no one cares about, guess what happens to it?
I'm a big supporter of the "passion" idea. If I'm not passionate about something, the idea of pulling off 90,000 words on the subject diminishes significantly. So I'm afraid the idea of starting out to write a "breakout novel" ala DaVinci Code is not something that can be planned. No publisher, no writer knows what will take root and grab up America's very short attention span, but it better darn well last through the writer's attention span.
So if you take all that into consideration and add the "need" to write. The high that comes when you are sitting at the desk, words flow and you have forgotten to plan anything for dinner, or have to get called by the school yet again to be told, "It's early pickup today, Mrs. Billerbeck." THAT is a high like no other -- not even triple espressos at Peet's. That is joy. It's so rare that a writer gets to sit down and make it happen compared to planning, proposing, editing, marketing, that I never want to take it for granted. This is a fabulous business, but like any other, there's about 90% weeds in the field and 20% total high. (That's the math of a writer!)
I turned in my book on Thursday at 1:11 a.m. Now I get to think about the next thing!!! Woohoo, this is one of my favorite parts. I think it comes from the marketing background. So if I haven't convinced you, it's part mental illness, stick around awhile, our blog should prove it in no time flat.