Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tortured Berets

I've been published now for about two years, and yet most of the time I still feel like a newbie. I still feel like I've got no books out, and nobody reads them, and I'm just this weirdo on the fringes with nothing to show for myself.

And then I make myself jump by looking at my blog sidebar, or the special bookshelf I've got for all of my own books. The bookshelf started out as one little shelf with a few books on it, and then our collection of Disney videos below it. But gradually the Disney videos have made way, and now I've got the entire three floors.

Which just seems remarkable, to me. I remember seeing Sommer Marsden's bookshelf, with all of her amazing books and antho contributions, and thinking: wow. Now THAT'S a career. That's what I want, one day, in the far and distant future when I'm half as fabulous as Sommer is.

And yet somehow I've kind of gotten a little bit of that. I've filled three narrow bookshelves. I am sort of prolific, or have been for most of those two years - before the night sweats set in.

Because lemme tell you, they did set in. For all those people out there who think being prolific isn't cool, and that you're only really a writer if you eke out one painful word a week while wearing a beret and sitting in a darkened room - it isn't cool. In fact, I'd give everything I have to go back to that time when I just wrote and wrote and wrote and didn't torture myself over it nightly.

Torture is not cool. Being able to write is. I see so many people now berating others over wordcounts - oh, you're bragging about writing 5k? Oh, how plebian, etc - as though actually having that joy of writing, of being able to do it, of being prolific is somehow such a crime.

It's not. You know who my heroines are? Sommer Marsden and Evangeline Anderson. Because they write and write and write and they work damned hard every day, because that's what being a writer is all about. There is no "cool". There are only words to be written every day, and whether you wrote 1k or 10, be proud.

Because 1k a day IS prolific. You know how many books a year 1k a day is? Three. Three is prolific. And that 1k a day, those three books a year, that level of prolificness - that's what being a writer is all about.

Readers want your books. They don't want your tortured berets. So I'm going to be prolific, or die in the attempt.


  1. I used to have a beret. But I dumped it when I realized that it looked pretty darned silly on someone pushing sixty...!

    Excellent post, Charlotte - your final point particularly. Books get written one day, one PARAGRAPH at a time. One after the next, after the next.

  2. I would love to produce a thousand words (of fiction) a day.

    Writing is a slog, isn't it? Like trying to wade through waist-high mud.

  3. Don't die in the attempt, Charlotte! Remember that some authors have (had) a small output but a big reputation. Once your words are published, you never know where they might go. :)

  4. Lisabet - You had a beret?? I can't believe it. You don't need to pretend to be cool. You ARE cool! And exactly, re: the one para at a time thing.

    Kathleen - It sure can be. But it can be great, too - I've just got to remember that!

    Jean - Yeah, but then I always think of George Martin, laughing cos his fans are waiting six years for the next book in the series. Or JD Salinger, tormenting readers with one book ever. Not cool, guys. Not cool.


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