Sweat Investment

Many people, including most of my family, have asked me what kind of investment I have in my book. My answer has always been simple. It’s sweat investment.

Let me explain…

Writing for me isn’t a job. It’s not an avocation. This job I’ve taken on of my own free will is the very air I breathe and the blood pumping through my veins. The intense moment when I hit my pace in a book can only be defined as breaking out in front of the pack during a marathon, only moments after the starter’s gun goes off, and maintaining a killer pace until I type “The End.”

More than a few people have shaken their heads and claimed that no one can maintain that kind of pace. I’m here to tell them that thousands if not millions of people maintain that pace every single day. Ask any devoted writer you might happen to know. They’ll all say the same thing. Each book reaches a point where they can’t stop.

Eyes closing because you haven’t slept in more than twenty-four hours? Toothpicks—not for me. I suck down cup after cup of hot coffee and push on.

A plot point waking you after a couple of hours of sleep? I don’t roll over and ignore the call. I stumble out of bed and open the file, staring at the page until I find why I woke up. Then it’s a matter of muttering, pounding the keyboard, and going over every single word, comma, and period, until I have the passage perfect. Of course, this always results in a complete look over of what I’ve already done.

A sagging middle? No, not the time to start with push-ups to regain your taut abs. My kind of sagging middle is the story itself sinking into a morass of confusing scenes and a plot going nowhere. That requires days if not weeks of work, to tighten up the middle and get the flow back into order.

A birthday or anniversary coming up. Your calendar screaming that important date at you, but you’re caught up in research to strengthen an important plot point. Think you can walk away? Not hardly. However, this can be cured by going ahead with the celebration plans and keeping a notebook and pen nearby, to jot down ideas as they rise.

All of this involves mental sweat. Writers are well known for that. We live for mental sweat. The best among us refuse to let go of a book that hasn’t had us wringing out limp muscles or massaging throbbing temples. This is what we live for, the moment when we realize we have broken through the wall and crossed the finish line.

And like the winner of the Boston Marathon, we know it has all been worth the effort.


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