Storytelling is hard work. There are people out there who think otherwise, people who think you spend the whole day dreaming up ways to escape, people who think it’s just a phase or a hobby, and people who think it’s a relaxing thing you do with no effort, the placing of words one after another until they make some sort of sense together.
Sure, writing is some of those things for some authors. It is a nice escape when things go right. There are days when it feels like no effort. It’s also crippling self-doubt, struggling with despair, and a hell of a lot of hard work. Granted, it may not be welding girders 30 stories up, but we still build things – whole worlds, tiny bubbles, and everything in between. We just use different tools and materials.
Before I get up my own ass, let me just clarify. I don’t think people don’t appreciate what we do as storytellers. I just think maybe they don’t know. Maybe they don’t care. I get that. I don’t necessarily need to see the pig butchered to enjoy a pork chop. If you’re interested though, I’ll tell you a secret. Storytelling is hard work.
Hard work, you say? Yeah. I work a full-time job. Then I submit stories to magazines. I submit my novel to agents. I engage on social media to try to spark interest in my writing. I also write, anywhere from 3-4 hours a night, and up to a full 8 on weekend days. I edit. I do research. I live with whole set pieces and characters and their quirks and foibles and personalities and the stories they live in, in my head. It can be exhausting at times. I deal with rejection. I deal with more rejection than an ugly male character on a sitcom. And I keep going.
Why? Let’s face it – we’ve heard the odds of being traditionally published are slightly less than being hit by a submarine/spontaneously swapping genders/getting drafted for the NFL – pick one. Because, when it comes down to it, I love it. It’s a part of me, as much as my arm, or my heart. It’s something I made that didn’t exist before, and I hope others love it as much as I do, or at least have a grudging respect for it. It’s also a way to exorcise demons, and to make the chaos stop swirling, just for a little bit. It’s my own little eye of the storm. That makes every second of irritation and frustration and happiness and triumph worth it. Sometimes that’s all I need.