Success is counted sweetest
By those who ne’er succeed.
To comprehend a nectar
Requires sorest need.
Talk to any writer and they will tell you that their writing efforts often go unnoticed. For every book/article that is sold, there are a dozen more waiting to be discovered. Writers understand this. They know the road to publication, recognition, and fame is long and painful. That’s why you’ll often hear writers joke about sticking their head in an oven or opening a vein.
I read somewhere that a writer must write over a million words before they have mastered the craft well enough to be considered a serious writer. Contrary to what some believe, writers don’t just sit down at a keyboard and the words pour out in logical sentences. A writer-friend’s impatient husband often asks her when she is in her office hunched over her keyboard pondering just the right word, “What are you doing in there?”
Most of the time what “we are doing in there” is trying to make sense of the words, voices, and stories that pop randomly into our head. I once labored thirty-six hours over a scene, only to delete it with one keystroke the next week. Because, when it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work, and no amount of superfluous words will make it better.
But sometimes it does work. And when it does, it makes up for all those long, lonely, and frustrating hours at the keyboard.
That’s why, when I received the 2010 Writer of the Year award from the Idaho Writer’s League, I felt a tinge of satisfaction. Of all the Idaho Writer’s League members in Idaho, my work stood out.