Recently, I had coffee with a friend whose first novel will be out in September. Naturally, she’s anxious to see her manuscript in print and still can’t believe her good luck in finding a publisher. When we met over steaming mugs of coffee, she still seemed dazed.
I know her feelings of awe and disbelief. This is the honeymoon period, a time when the work of writing is over and one waits expectantly for the book to arrive.
I say nothing to my friend about what lies ahead, after publication. Let her enjoy the moment. Though I’m no clairvoyant, I know her future. From this point on, she’ll never write unfettered, without the pressing demands of marketing her work. What’s more, as an unknown author, she’ll find herself at the bottom of a well-established pecking order. Her past achievements as a wife and mother, or even as the editor for a small magazine, count for nothing. For the moment, she has no track record in her new endeavor.
Friends may disappoint her, of course. Either they’ll make inappropriate comments about her book or fail to read it. Her parents will underestimate the momentous occasion. She’s still their “little girl.” And sadly, important book reviewers may not acknowledge her at all.
A year from now, when the royalties from her sales won’t be enough to buy her a decent pair of shoes, she will wonder if the struggle and expense have been worthwhile. Will she lose heart? Or will she sit down to her computer with an idea for a new novel — forgetting her disappointments the way a young mother forgets labor pains once she feels her new baby in her arms? I know the answer to that question, too . A writer must write.
(Courtesy of indianpublicmedia.org)