The Price

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I don’t know if it’s the weather or the fact that I just recently listened to “School’s Out” by Alice Cooper on my drive to the lox store, but things are percolating in my tiny mind. I’m close to finishing my current WIP, reading an excellent book that piques my sense of injustice (The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas), or getting excited to start my next book.

Or all of the above.

Maybe it’s the dinner I had recently with someone who wants to be a writer but doesn’t know if she wants to pay the price. Trying to be a professional writer ain’t for wimps. Between agents and editors and peers and friends and family, it’s often the gauntlet of rejection and the birthplace of low self-esteem.

It’s also the best job in the world. The one everybody wants to get.

YA Author Tom Hoover on The Price of Being a WriterBut it is a job. Sometimes it’s hard, like climbing the side of a building with a huge load of bricks for the mason. Enough for two buildings. Other times, it’s an amazing high. Like when Dr. Strange conjures weapons and shields out of thin air. It’s creation and life, and you’re typing so fast you get really inventive with spelling and the placement of letters.

I think I once heard my Spell Check cry.

Writing a book is an awful lot like undergoing surgery. Cutting out the bad stuff. Removing organs (pages, chapter, and sub-plots). Reshaping the skeleton.

Can I get an Amen from anyone who’s ever broken a bone or had rotator cuff surgery?

Before you feel good and everything works properly, the process hurts a lot. I wish there was another answer, but there’s not. In art, good things do not come to those who wait. It comes to those who endure and work their craft. And learn and grow and try and fail and get up tomorrow and do it again.

This is the point in one of these types of blogs that the author introduces some statistics to make his or her point. I am nothing if not traditional, so…

Professional golfers practice eight or more hours every day. They can spend days working on putting. Putting. Just thinking about putting for hours makes me want to eat my young.

Don’t make that face—it’s just an expression. Besides, I don’t have any young.

The point is, all pro golfers constantly practice and perfect their craft … and only one of them wins the tournament. Obviously, I don’t want to pay the price to become a profession golfer. I don’t have the drive or the attitude—even though I like to play the game.

I’m a dabbler. I’m not a golfer.

And there’s nothing wrong with that.

I just need to be careful what I call myself.

We all do.

Now, back to work.

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