Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Being a writer involves more than writing a book...

Or so I am constantly reminded. I think this is one aspect of being a writer that most non-writers never consider. People seem to think we pretty much sit and type all day. However, writers are self-employed business persons, with all that that entails (think bookkeeping and taxes).

In fact, there's a whole host of other tasks that go with being a published writer apart from actually writing a book. For instance, I either have to send out my books for review or making sure somebody at the publisher has done it. I do other PR, too, like designing and updating my website.

I have to do research. When I'm digging around in my many books or surfing the net for information about what people wore or what they ate, I'm working, but not "writing."

I also have to proofread galleys and go through copy edited changes to see if I agree or disagree with editorial changes. Again, I'm not technically "writing," but it's part of finalizing the text of the book.

There are often a lot of other smaller secretarial tasks, too, like replying to reader mail. That's usually a very pleasant task, but I'm not working on my book then, either.

One thing is fairly certain: writing for a living doesn't make for a lot of dynamic activity, unless, I suppose, you really get into your research. (I did take up fencing for awhile, come to think of it, and have the outfit to prove it.) But I think a lot of writers are like Walter Mitty, except we write our daydreams down and we're not generally the main character. I know that's bound to disappoint some people who think being a writer is glamorous and exciting, but the truth is, a lot of the time, it isn't.

But every once in a while, it does become tremendously exciting -- when you've written something you love, or you meet a fan. Then there's nothing I'd rather be than a writer.

Kitty Report: Luis and The Count have been allowed over more of the house. The Count seems to especially enjoy hiding under the bottom of the living room drapes. The Dowager Cat remains wary, which means she hisses if they come too close, but no fisticuffs. Thank goodness!

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