Monday, April 26, 2010

It's A Glamorous Life

Since the release of my first novel, Code Blue, I've had some people comment that the life of a writer must be glamorous. Maybe that's true for J. K. Rowling or Tom Clancy, but not for the average writer. Let me dispel some of those myths from my own experience.

I won't dwell on how long it took to even get a basic knowledge of the craft of writing. We can skip over the anguish of writing novel after novel, only to have them rejected. Take as a given the difficulty of obtaining representation by an agent. Gloss over the numerous rejections, the communications that say, "Does not meet our needs," and the boiler-plate rejections.

Start the story, as we writers are told to do, in media res--in the middle of the action. A contract has been signed, the manuscript has been revised and edited, a new title selected, a cover devised, and eventually the book appears. I hold it in my hands much as a proud parent holds his firstborn. Surely there must be firecrackers and sky rockets going off outside. No, I peer through the window and all I see are the guys mowing my neighbor's lawn. And they don't knock on the door and ask for my autograph.

There are book signings, blog interviews and guest columns, and appearances before book clubs. But at church, at the grocery, at the cleaners, and eventually even around friends and family, I'm back to being just Richard. But that's okay. I didn't begin writing to become famous. I knew going in that the chances of that happening were pretty slim. I write because I love the challenge, and I love the activity itself.

I guess I'm sort of like the son who had an argument with his parents and ran away from home to join the circus. They finally tracked him down in a nearby town, where they watched the performers parade down Main Street. They looked in vain for him among acrobats, animal trainers, clowns. Finally, here came the elephants, at the rear of the parade. And behind them was their son with a pail, scoop, and broom, cleaning up the elephant droppings.

They waved to catch his attention. "Son, we're so sorry. Please come back home with us."

He spared them only a glance before he resumed sweeping, calling over his shoulder, "What? And give up show business?"

I guess that's the kind of fame a writer has. And it's good enough for me.

1 comment:

Cindy said...

Oh, that makes me laugh how you likened being a writer, published author in your case, as the guy at the end of all the excitement cleaning up the droppings!

It feels like that sometimes.

When I first decided I wanted to be a writer (I was in my teens) I certainly imagined it would be a glamorous life. By the time I finally became a Christian and began writing Christian fiction I felt so relieved that my writing was for a bigger purpose than becoming famous or even well-known. And if that means I'm at the end of all the excitement, too, I don't mind one bit :)