Do Non-writers Really Understand Us?

This isn’t a “woe is me” post. This is a question of how much of our friends and family understand how much work it really is to be a writer.

I came to the realization that not everyone knows how much goes into a book when I tweeted that I had finished a draft of my current WIP. A conversation with a friend followed that included the tweets:

What I am curious about is how much time does the average non-writer think goes into getting a novel published? My 3rd draft of this WIP is no where near ready to show to anyone in the publishing industry. I need at least another handful of revisions before it starts to look like something polished.

As writers, we all know that a lot of time and effort goes into getting these things to the level that is publishable. But this all goes on behind closed doors, so to speak. But do readers understand that years can be put into a final product? It reminds me a lot of movies. When you watch a movie, you don’t think “wow this must have taken them x hours to film this one scene.” (well, sometimes you do, but more often than not you don’t think about it at all). But with movies, you can physically see when things are more elaborate and extravagant, indicating more time has gone into it. You can’t particularly do this with books. There are no “special effects” for books, just the careful craft of the words that create the world in which the reader becomes immersed.

It’s fascinating to me that writing can seem more effortless than it really is. Of course, most art forms seem that way when you look at the big picture. It is really interesting, though, that you can’t zoom in on a novel and particularly see how much time has been put into it. Of course there are minor details that thread throughout that can indicate the time, but it isn’t as obvious to untrained analyzers of texts.


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