Friday, December 4, 2009

Real Author Work

So many authors on their blogs will talk about how nothing they do is real work unless it is writing. It doesn't matter if they spent the day blogging, responding to fan mail, negotiating contracts for a new novel, going to their tax accountant, reading over an audio script of a previously published novel, or working on the adaptation of their novel into a graphic novel or TV show. If they're not producing new material, the rest doesn't matter.

Personally, I've always thought this is a little tough. As an group, successful writers seem to all be workaholics, and I thought their own taskmaster drive was holding them to too high a standard. After all, all the other things are part of their work. They need to keep their fans happy and panting for the next release; they need to put down the foundations for new work, keep the business side of their job going, and maintain all the "side projects" like graphic novels that are jobs unto themselves.

But today I think I understood. I spent an hour this morning going over my query letter again. Then, having worked on it until I my edits began to make it worse, I set it aside and started looking for an agent. I spent another hour dabbling my fingers in the Writer's Market and individual agent sites. It was a full two-hour "writing" session for me. I should have felt just as accomplished as I did when I finished a session of editing Madison or writing Sasha.

What I felt was like I had slacked off. Yes, without finding an agent, my writing will never be seen by anyone but family and friends. Yes, to find an agent, I need to spend some time researching the. I need to spend even more time working on my query letter. But at the end of the day, none of that feels like it counts as real work. There were no additional pages added to my "done" pile. There wasn't even a new card put up on my storyboard.

Part of me wants to wail that this job is impossible. Part of me wants to slap that other part of me. There's a balance out there, and I've decided that another chocolate chip cookie just might help me find it.

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