Ah, the elusive writer. One might hear an author’s voice in an audiobook or on a radio program. Rare sightings of these legendary figures occur at workshops or book signings. Otherwise, years of searching might fail to spy one on the roads. Few have seen a real-life author in her natural habitat.
Those who chase the myth look for pipe-smoking intellectuals in velvet blazers. Gated estates seem the best place to begin the search, since generous royalty checks afford a vast mansion. The habitat must contain a grand study, since the writer requires thirty-foot shelves to line their library walls as inspiration.The authors remain difficult to locate in these neighborhoods, perhaps due to frequent visits to exotic venues for research. Publishers grant such a luxurious travel budget, one might never find the author in her elite accommodations.
Yet, legend hunters persist in local hunts with the expectation the writer will return soon. According to common theory, an author needs less than a week of seclusion to complete her novel. If amateurs plan to spend a weekend in a cabin to type up their memoirs, the writing process surely offers no challenge to the author. For a seasoned professional, a few days should suffice. With a laptop and bottle of liquor, one expects her to crank out her final manuscript in a single draft.
Though legend hunters fail to witness the author in her habitat, myth suggests she meets her agent and publisher for glamorous cocktail parties. The author hand delivers her only draft of the manuscript. The agent and publisher read her novel in a single day, of course, since it is well-known they pace their offices with little to do but wait for the next fresh ream of pages from an author. Legend suggests the first publisher queried will expedite delivery of a contract, along with a handsome check as an advance. Public belief suggests an editor then lavishes praise upon the writer’s work and begs for a personal, autographed copy. With few corrections, the book should be out on store shelves in no time.
The general public agrees these authors become best sellers with little personal effort. Readers have little trouble finding the flawless material of the writer’s first draft among the other selections online. Myth hunters stalk the doorways of major bookstores to catch sightings of the publisher’s marketing team, in hopes of following the publicist to the author’s habitat. Though it is widely held a publicity crew will be assigned to each author, such an entourage has never been reported.
Legend claims the diligent writer hatches into a best-selling author in a few months. Success then begets greater ease and continued success, theory suggests. With such certainty of fame, myth hunters should find their mark in no time. What on earth could prevent them from locating a real-life author?
Yes, I’m a bit late with this week’s post. Writing and life often bend schedules and always break stereotypes. So, instead of continuing the short story, I chose to draft a tongue-in-cheek expose of general misconseptions about authors.
While sitting among piles of decor and unfiled papers, I’m working on edits for a contracted novel. Sometimes in my pajamas, but never with a pipe. The almost-renovated loft won’t quite match the Biltmore library, but it’ll upgrade my environment. I’ll share the results as soon as I’m done with my projects.
Perhaps I’ll offer further insights about writing life at a later date, but I just want to note the basics for now. A real author’s life tends to offer more challenges than glamor. We face rejection at an exponential rate compared to our successes. The journey to discovery remains an Everest-scale quest. Even with subsequent novels or high sales. The sense of accomplishment eludes us, since each milestone brings another set of overwhelming tasks. We must force ourselves to celebrate the ever-unfinished work and compel ourselves to continue dreaming. Though the royalty checks might fall short of renting a campground spot, we must not let the receipts discourage our pursuit of adventure. Our greatest dividends won’t come in monetary form. As a vessel of the Word, an author’s work draws reward in divine currency.