Many years ago, I took on a book editing job from a young man who wanted to tell his story about coaching his daughter’s soccer team. It was a good story, but a rough cut, needing a lot of polish before it hit the presses.
The man was impatient. “I’ve already been through this manuscript four times!” he wailed.
Four times. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that it would be more like forty before the book saw the light of print. And that’s if he stuck with it.
It has taken me nearly twenty-five years to complete My Dead True Love. And I’ve massaged that manuscript at least forty times, from its shaky beginnings as a grief journal to full-fledged manuscript ready for publication.
And as precious as it is to me, my novel is one of about 1.7 million books that are self-published each year.
So why keep at it, working so hard and swimming against that tide? Because I believe it’s an important story to tell, and there are people who want and need to hear it.
I also believe it’s imperative to write a book as well as it can be written. Words on a page are like brush strokes in a painting: each placed just so for a reason, to create the best picture.
There is nothing mysterious about good writing. No magic. No muse. It just takes hard, persistent effort, and you can’t rush. Then, if you’re lucky, a few people notice and a few lives are changed. And the effort was worthwhile.