As writers, we all know the old adage about writing what you know–which I think some people take a little too literally, but I don’t want to race off on that tangent today. No, today I want to talk about something that is even more important to the professional author.
Write what you love.
Now, again, please don’t take that literally. I love homemade French fries and ice cream, but I really don’t want to read books about that…much less write them. What I mean is that, as an author, you’re going to read your work a lot. Think about it:
Pre-submission (some steps may or may not happen, depending on your process, and there may be others I’ve skipped):
- Read while drafting
- Read prior to sending to first readers to fix any glaring issues
- Read while making corrections suggested by first readers
- Read through prior to submitting to agent/editor
Now, your book has been contracted! YAY! (Please notice, I have skipped additional readings while doing edits for an agent–as agents vary greatly on how much editing they do, your mileage will definitely vary there, and some people never use an agent at all.) but after being contracted, there are more steps:
- Read while making content/developmental edits
- Potentially read while making more edits due to second or third round editing
- Read while fixing line edits
- Read during/post copy edits (this is a really important bit as most publishers don’t want any significant changes after this stage
- Read galley
That is a lot of reading the (basically) same book over and over, sometimes at the publication stage, in a very short period of time. For example, my November release had all rounds of edits, including galley read, in under three months. I read that book no less than five times in three months. Mind you, I love that book. I love that series. I’m ending it with a heavy heart, but to this day, I read passages from earlier books and my heart soars I love it so much. But by the time I got to the galley read in August, I had fleeting thoughts about ripping my eyeballs out rather than reading it again.
Imagine if you don’t love what you’ve written. How are you going to feel by the time you get to that galley?
Yes, we’re all writing hoping to make careers out of it, and that sometimes means writing genres that aren’t our favorite because they sell well or that’s what your agent/editor wants from you. But within that framework, you still have choices. Choose something you love…the fate of your eyeballs and sanity depend on it.