Friday, June 11, 2010

Six of one, half a dozen of the other

So my book's out and, y'know, I really don't want to talk about that. It's exciting when you're six months from release, and it's heart-stopping when you're one month, and you can hardly draw a breath when it's a week but then, on Release Day, it all goes away.

Up to the day your book hits the virtual or literal shelves, there's some little hint of hope -- no matter how delusional -- that you can pull it if you want to. The book's not Out There yet, so you're sure if you come up with a good enough reason, you could stop it.

Once you see it in all its displayed glory, however, that chance is gone and, with it, any chance for you to modify a word. I wonder if my indifference about a released book is some kind of self-defence mechanism to stop me worrying about whether I screwed up anything. Somebody said that once a book is released, it's no longer the author's, and I agree with that. For better or worse, the book has to stand on its own two feet and take the bouquets and brickbats of readers.

And, like a neglectful parent, I'm on the next project. Of course I worry about it and hope readers will like it, but that's not my driving ambition. It gets easier as you publish, and realise that the time between release and a review is often incredibly long. You can either fret yourself into lethargy, or deal with it and move on. That's what separates the writer from the career writer.

That's right. It's not always down to talent. A lot of times, it's down to attitude. Do you have tenacity? Can you ignore criticism and keep belief in yourself? Can you walk away when you need to? Can you grit your teeth and just keep writing? These are all tough traits that appear divorced from the soft cloak of The Muse and Divine Inspiration that some authors clothe themselves with, but they are no less necessary.

Hard and soft. Yin and yang. Push and yield. A writer needs them both.

* Kaz Augustin is a writer who's in a strangely introspective mood today. You can find her website at and she blogs three times a week, more or less, at


Farrah Rochon said...

I nodded the entire time I was reading this. All so very true.

Congratulations on the new release!

Chris Stovell said...

Frighteningly true and very timely for me! Congratulations to you!

Kaz Augustin said...

Thanks Farrah and Chris! Here's hoping my little darling can manage to stay afloat, but she's on her own now.

Charles Gramlich said...

Attitude and the ability to handle the workload. Especially the work load of promoting your work.

Maria Zannini said...

Doesn't it also feel--cathartic?

Once it's out there, you're liberated.

I agree wholeheartedly with every point though.

Ya dun good. Now it's on to the next project.

Kaz Augustin said...

@Charles: Right. Things that aren't so clear while you're still planning to be a writer. People say muse, ability, talent, but what about, as you say, "ability to handle the workload", juggling the writing with the promoting, and so on.

@Maria: Yes, liberated. Getting so sick of those characters anyway! Let's get on to something new!!! Then again, as you know, I have an ultra-low boredom threshold.

Liane Spicer said...

No one tells you that the workload triples when you're published. All I have to say is that learning to do the juggling is a WIP for me.