After I finished my first book, my mentor told me something I’ll never forget.
First you write the book, then the book writes you.
That’s the great transformation of art. It’s about what changes in you once the work is done. Once it’s yours. Once you have it in your hot little hands.
Because if you think writing a book is hard, try selling one. That’s the part nobody talks about. I spent the first decade of my career unloading delivery trucks in the rain, stacking forty pound cases of books in my storage facility, schlepping boxes through the airport at midnight, promoting and selling copies at live events, reboxing unsold books and shipping them back to the office, managing constantly shifting inventory, processing customs forms for international orders and triaging a variety of logistical nightmares. I think my wrist joints sustained permanent damage.
And I’m not complaining. It comes with the territory being an artist. They don’t call it do it yourself as a metaphor.
But the good news is, there’s a light at the end of that tunnel. Because after ten or fifteen or twenty years of grinding it out, you developed a profound sense of fulfillment, pardon the pun, that couldn’t have been achieved any other way. Ask anyone who builds their own house from the ground up or hunts and kills and cleans their own food, there’s something incomparably satisfying about the do it yourself process.
And so, if you’re an artist, that is, any person who responds to a psychic summons to create things and put them in the world, don’t be afraid to let the book write you.
If there’s schlepping involved, that means it’s probably real work. If it’s too easy, you’re doing a disservice to yourself.
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