I’m sad to report that Summer’s just about over. Soon the kids will be back in school, agents and editors are gearing up for a busy fall, the weather will gradually start turning cold (or hot! Hello, Southern Hemisphere!), and we will soon be learning about the exploits of bizarre people on reality television shows of questionable quality. I’m always a bit sad to see summer go.
So on this-here blog I thought we could have a week of appreciation for a very special and important person: the writer. (And yes, this may mean you.)
Nearly everyone I’ve ever met in my entire life has thought at one time or another about writing a book. There is a widespread belief that everyone has a book in them, that if we could quit our jobs and set aside enough time under a shade tree with a pen and paper we too could be the next Ernest Hemingway. Or at least the next J.K. Rowling. How hard could it be, right???
As anyone who has actually tried to write a book knows: it’s hard. Really really hard.
And as the recent blog reader survey shows, most of you have written at least one novel and just about everyone has tried, meaning you have done something that millions out there haven’t: you went for it.
You made the leap of faith, put pen to paper, devoted hours and hours and hours to building a world, and after months of hard work and sweat and blood and tears, those of you that finished had something to be rightly proud of: a manuscript.
Then you find out that the writing was the easy part.
It’s sometimes a thankless pursuit with uncertain odds, so this week: let’s hear it for the writers out there, published and unpublished. We’ll have a series of posts in appreciation of writers, those people who give us hours of entertainment, unsurpassed knowledge, and untold insight.
Hug a writer!
You understand the ups and downs so well, I'm curious to know if that's purely second hand (i.e. from your clients) or if you've tried your hand at writing a book (with or without the shade of a tree).
Suzan Harden says
Taira Ivins says
Thank you, Nathan.
Bad touch! BAD TOUCH!
(Really, people… introductions first, then handshake… maybe a couple of dates. You know, the ones where you suggest a movie, and really it's not your thing but it's nice and neutral and public (except to that couple in the back row who obviously couldn't afford a motel room) and it'll give you something to talk about during that awkward walk back home/to the car/taxi/bus while you try to figure out whether the other person is worth investing more time in or whether you're going to be washing your head (no hair, sorry, lost that a couple of years back when that power surge hit the electrolysis clinic) every time they call and you don't check caller-id in time to let it go straight to voice mail and after a couple of films, maybe there's dinner and eventually you get to the stage where you're leaning in close to each other and you're really not sure what's going to happen but it's worth at least touching a shoulder to see how it goes before going for the whole arm-extension almost-pat-on-the-back-except-it's-the-opposite-shoulder thing before you actually get to the hug stage and you're hoping your deodorant works because you really don't want to transfer pit stains. As for hugging oneself… well, that's just… not something we should talk about in polite company.)
Apologies… sometimes my mind wanders and doesn't take a cell-phone.
Cary Kearns says
Never a bad thing to circle the wagons!
Is BAD QUERIES ATTACK on your fall viewing schedule? A&E reportedly picked it up.
I auditioned numerous times with them, but have not heard back yet.
> Dan Holloway
That was a fantastic post (From Pitch to Perpetuation of Privilige). It highlighted some really important points.
The beauty of writing is that it allows anyone to write their thoughts down, but you're right – for some, there are no ways to get their voice out to an audience. This definitely needs to change.
It's an even bigger problem in the press. Of course, it's a bit of a catch-22; can a child who had a terrible or no education write as well as someone who went to Eton and Oxford? They may have bags more natural talent and far better stories to tell, but if they don't have the vocabulary to artfully articulate those stories, where does it leave them? I certainly hope things will change.
> To everyone else
We don't mean to put a dampener on the thread! Hugs to everyone!
The MBA Jenna says
Mmm, what about the Nordic introverts who grew up somewhere other than the CA hugging culture? Maybe you could smile shyly in our general direction for the week? By Friday we might work up the courage to say "hi."
Three weeks from now, we could get some Humphrey Slocombe ice cream together. But only if you are writing. 20 pages gets you Peanut butter curry, 50 pages gets you Vietnamese coffee, 100 pages and I'll treat you to the Root beer float…oh my.
Shy smiles to all!
Steph Damore says
Laura – Cherry Wheat is one of my favs. Although that might have something to do with the Traverse City cherries that go in every bottle =)
J.J. Bennett – You're welcome. It's surely a sign of good things to come!
Avalon Myst – I second your applause to everyone who can't help but dare to think "what if?". The world would be far too boring without us creative types.
Lydia Sharp says
Awesome! Rewrites and rejections will not get me down this week. 🙂
Hours of entertainment? Well, might only be a couple if you read fast.
Unsurpassed knowledge? Pretty sure I've been passed on that freeway more times than I can count.
Untold insight? Best if I leave that untold. If I tell, being a writer of course, I'm sure everyone will find it terribly uninsightful.
But hey. If I can entertain for a few hours, it's all good. That's all the kudos I need.
Keep it up, all you writers out there. In the end, it's all worth it.
Ooh, this was nice. Thank you!
Regan Leigh says
Thanks to all the writers on here that have helped me in various ways! I'm not a beer gal, but I will think of you all while I have a margarita and queso blanco with friends! 😉
Fantastic post, as always.
Love the "Hug a writer" bit!
Jen C says
No beer for me, I don't drink! But, hows about some homemade lemonade? And, cupcakes.
Other Lisa says
The MBA Jenna: I was born and raised in CA hugging culture! But you know, the Nordic part wins. 🙂
Okay, that's not entirely true, I have learned to hug and even like it.
My summer has been over for a while. Kids have been in school for three weeks now, and YESTERDAY! my husband finally came home after his long 7 months of Summer work, out of state and of home.
I'm working hard to finish my book before November (NaNoWriMo!), and your words made me tear up.
Have a great day dream-agent…
T. Anne says
Very nice. I'm hugging away right now although it does make it a little difficult to type. Looking forward to the future posts.
Community is good – and that is what we have here. Comrades who know the exhilaration of creation. the glow of a story well written, that sinking feeling of rejection. followed by the budding of new hope.
With hugs, which I have learned to appreciate, let's give encouragement and spread belief in the phrase written by someone long ago; "When you are hit by life's hardest slam, never say die, say damn" and, to continue with other's words; "pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again."
How important words are! How important each writer is.
Now I'll have a hard cider, please.
Dan Holloway says
Hey, Kia. Thank you.
Not a damper at all. Hugs are always welcome. Only trying to ensure more hugs for more people.
Nathan's blog is somewhere that feels a bit like a constant hug – I'm sure we all like to pass the love back you.
Aubrey (AKA Stacey) says
What an inspiring post Nathan. I have had some major family things come up this last month and it took the punch out of my desire to write. It has all been so draining physically and emotionally. You just gave me the encouragement to keep going!
D. Michael Olive says
Here's to expanding my vocabulary and deleting adverbs.
Kristin Laughtin says
And I agree with the commenter above me about deleting adverbs, as much as I secretly love them so. (See, I couldn't go a whole sentence without one.)
F. P. says
"Then you find out that the writing was the easy part."
–What?!?!? No. I've never found that out. Hands down, writing's the hardest part of being a writer (and, IMO FWIW, that's the way it should be if a writer's writing hard enough–and deep enough from inside herself). Getting the words to come out both clearly and the way I see them inside my head–I've found no will-always-work recipe for that, no end-all be-all how-to book, no end-all be-all how-to advice. Writing just must be done and it's always a gigantic pain in the ass.
Your post is very nice overall though! I'm curious what and/or who you'll discuss this week–I'll check back.
"There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein."
Yay, it's the first day of Spring. Warm weather here I come!
The downside is that as the weather warms up I'll be more inclined to go outside. I guess I can always take the laptop with me…
I love this post! I'm hugging my favorite authors to my heart right now.
Yes, writers, especially fiction writers, have gotten me through the of worst times…and have made the best of times even better. They help me to escape when my life turns dark and enrich my life when things are going well.
Thank you for acknowledging writers' many contributions to our lives.
Arik Durfee says
It took me four years to finish a first draft of my novel. And I've spent the last nine months going through four rounds of revisions. This weekend, my wife (who also writes) was reading the latest version and giving me some pretty stiff criticism on a couple of chapters. So for the last three days I've been in a state of holy-crap-this-is-never-going-to-END depression.
It's nice to remember every once in a while that there are a whole lot of people going through the exact same thing.
I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…
Yea for us! Thanks for the pat on the back.
Sharon aka Sapphire says
Lovely words. 🙂
Have to admit I'm with Other Lisa and Steph D (does that make me Other Steph?). Not much of a hugger, but I'll certainly take a beer.
I love the idea of Writer Appreciation Week, Nathan.
Hmm… perhaps we'll have to have Nathan Appreciation Week next.
Other Lisa says
I'll buy Nathan a beer. I'm pretty sure I owe him one.
Dawn Maria says
Thanks Nathan. I got an impersonal form rejection Friday (not even my name in the body of the email) and it was a real downer. So please, lift my spirits!
Actually, your blog and community do that all the time.
Kay Bratt says
Cool post, Nathan.
I don't post much but today I will to encourage others who may be in my shoes. I self published last year at this time. With a LOT of hard work [mostly online], I sold thousands within 10 months and just last week signed a contract to have my book relaunched and backed by a publisher. My story is not a literary piece of art but it I am humbled to discover it is a story that people want to know. I am sure there are others out there!
Jan Markley says
Hey Nathan: Thanks for celebrating the writer! Your blog rocks (as always).
I'm nearly pubbed (pub date October 2009)! Sooooo close!
If other writers want some inspiration they can check out my 'how I got published' story on my blog. It's a story complete with plot twists, inner conflict, stalking, persistence, three dead moths in my mailbox, lots of rewriting, and hope!
Absolutely positively wonderful thing for you to do Nathan.
This should be put before congress for a vote…a National Writer's Appreciation Day…or Month.
It feels good to be appreciated and as always, we certainly appreciate all you do for us crazy writers.
(does anyone else write in their sleep?)
hugs hugs hugs hugs and more hugs
I've been at the bottom of this barrel having a pretty tough time, thinking seriously about getting a better paying profession outside the arts, so I can be content to be a "hobby" writer/artist/creative.
It's nice to think there at least is someone rooting for those of us here with too many holes in the pockets and the threads wearing thinner and thinner all the time.
To all writers I raise my glass of metaphoric lemonade, though I'll settle for hugging my big stuffed animal monkey. 😀
We can do it!
Jill Lynn says
Hugs back at ya, Nathan. And beer all around. It is the eve of my first real publishing credit, so I am in a celebratory mood. No, it's not a novel, but a short story in an anthology titled "Nightbird Singing in the Dead of Night" https://www.nightbirdpubs.com/
Very exciting to see my name as one of the contributing authors.
Want to give a shout-out to Dr. Sally Young. She is writing a book about people with autism and just sent me the draft of the chapter on my son. YO Sally!
It may be the end of Summer for you guys, but Spring just started today for me (Yeah, Spring in Australia!)
Loving what you say, as usual. Sometimes I think we don't appreciate how much work this is. Its not making the words flow that's difficult for me, its making sure they're the right words. Sometimes I amaze myself with the amount of dribble I write and then have to re-edit into something slightly readable.
This is awesome.
I especially love this part:
"You made the leap of faith, put pen to paper, devoted hours and hours and hours to building a world, and after months of hard work and sweat and blood and tears, those of you that finished had something to be rightly proud of: a manuscript.
Then you find out that the writing was the easy part."
Anyway, I want to praise all the writers out there! Once you start writing yourself and looking for others with the dream of writing a book, it's so surprising to see how many people there actually are! I've come to find that nearly half my friends have already started writing and are well on there way!
Good job, and good luck to all!
L.H. Parker says
Brilliant! Just what I needed. Hugs! Hugs!
This was a really nice post. Thanks, Nathan.
D. G. Hudson says
Thanks for the encouragement, Nathan.
Writers have a lot of obstacles to overcome to get their book published, and it's a pleasure to see one agent appreciate the source that supports the publishing business.
Thanks for all you do to keep us writing.
Waving hi from the southern hemisphere and glad to see the last of winter!
Thanks Nathan- this post came at a good time. The m/s of my second novel is due with my agent next week and as I write the final chapter I'm just feeling so emotional about it- sad to see it come to an end, excited about pulling plot points together, terrified about starting a new project, torn between thinking this is a good novel and being afraid to show it to mye agent because just say it isn't… and the worst bit is that pretty much no-one cares about any of it! My husband is very supportive but is a complete non-writer- he'll be pleased for me that I've finished but far more interested in if I can sell it like the last one; my family don't read and have no idea about books really (my parents never even read my first (published) novel; my friends like my books (I've done 3- the other 2 were non-fic/essays) but think anyone can do it and can't understand why it takes so much time. So THANK YOU for writer appreciation week- I love it!
Kylie in Aus
Lorel Clayton says
I'm in the middle of my third (unpublished) book and with summer on the way here in Australia it will be difficult to keep myself in front of the computer, when I could be snorkelling and enjoying the sunshine. I will get out, but only after I make my daily word quota!
Ed Miracle says
I think we should award Nathan a
Pullet Surprise. What do you say,
gang? (Cluck, cluck?)
Stephanie Baffone says
Awww thank you, Nathan!
M. K. Clarke says
Let's try that again :).
Yay, Nathan, thank you so much for a thoughtful, sweet, encouraging post! I'm still green to this biz and this is exactly the shot in the arm this gal needed! YOU appreciate us even if the industry don't :).
Got some great quotes to offer writers just for the Writer Appreciation Week posts. Looking forward to the coming week.
Sigh. . .I'll crack the top 30 in posts one day.
Clearly you haven't been in Southern California much. We're already in the third week back at school. It amazes me when I hear people talking about summer ending–buying lunch boxes and backpacks–at the end of August. We're already seeing wear and tear on ours. Oh, and have you forgotton about that old summer friend, Big Brother? You needn't wait for your reality TV fix…