Monday, June 30, 2008

The Ups & Downs of the Writing Life

This week, I got a check in the mail for my story in "Legends of the Mountain State 2", received a very nice compliment for the first "Legends" anthology, and the story I'm working on now is coming along better than I hoped. But, I also received an email Saturday from a magazine, saying they were taking a pass on the short story I sent them. Close, but no cigar.

Such is the life of a writer.

Harry Anderson once described Las Vegas as a town that, in one moment, could make you feel like the King of the World, and the next minute remind you why the hotel windows don't open past the first floor. Both gamblers and writers know about playing the odds. The difference is that even the most daring gambler would refuse to play a writer's odds.

Writing never gets easier. In fact, if you're doing it right, it gets harder as you go along. When I started writing, I could stay up all night writing, and by the morning have a short story ready to send out. I can't do that anymore; not because I'm older, but because I'm smarter. I never managed to get any of my all-nighter stories published, and with good reason. I don't let stories go now without putting a great deal of work into them, and thank goodness for that. Writing is hard, and it should be. Writers who are looking to "make it" so that they can coast by and not work so hard to get published are really in the wrong business. Sure, there are those rare few authors who have built a reputation and could get away with coasting; but those authors achieved that reputation by never wanting to.

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