I know many people say, and they are right to do so, that the joy is in the process of writing, not in the sale. But truth be told, once you’ve made a sale or two or three, it’s hard to focus on process instead of product. At least for me.
Before I’d ever heard of query letters or a synopsis
or even dared imagine the possibility
of signing with a New York agent,
I used to sit on the stoop of cement in my garage
and write exactly the kind of stories
I liked to read.
I didn’t have a market guide
or a critique group
and SCBWI was just a bunch of
mixed up letters from the alphabet.
Before I ever sold a single book
I didn’t wonder how many copies it would sell
or when I would earn back my advance
or whether the reviewers would be kind
if they decided to review it at all.
The Internet was still a dream
to be unfurled
so there were no worries about
blogs or websites or social media status updates.
I wrote because it made me happy
to imagine the child I used to be
in the stories I told myself.
I wrote because figuring out what happened next
was more fun than a crossword puzzle
or learning how to knit.
and I wrote because when I didn’t write,
I was (according to my kids) grumpy
until I once again picked up a pad and pen.
I don’t want to go back in time
or undo what I’ve done over the years
but I want to find a way to remember what it felt like
to sit on that cement stoop scribbling on that green steno pad
plotting stories for no one but myself.
Susan Taylor Brown.
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