There are two things I regularly forget — just how much a tattoo hurts to get, and just how really difficult it is to get a book done and out the door.
I’ve a love/hate relationship to promo copy. Short is much harder to write than long where you can wander. That’s why songs and poems are so damn difficult. And promo copy to encapsulate a book–you try to distill the story down to the core elements, to intrigue without giving too much away. Of course, the good thing about digital is that you can keep fussing with this.
And the bad thing about digital is that you can keep fussing with this.
Years ago, when oil painting, I got a great lesson about that. Unlike with watercolors, where each stroke must be right, with oils you can layer and build textures. I was doing this — until I put that one-too-many brush stroke on the canvas. My persistence for perfection killed that painting. That’s the writer’s dilemma.
What’s enough persistence to get the work done? What’s so much that you’re now going past the point of putting the thing down and getting it out the door? What’s so much polish that you’ve edited the life from the work–what’s needed to get it to the stage that it’s a smooth, easy read?
Persistence means not just doing, but also rechecking yourself at every phase –writing, editing, revising, and yes even putting the book out there. At least with digital you get immediate feedback (you see it selling or not, you get emails or not).
And I think, for writers, it means a pathological optimism to start with–you really do have to start off thinking it won’t be that much work. Now, excuse me, I’ve got some edits to do on the new book, and another digital copy to get out–shouldn’t take me more than a week or two to get it all done, right?