I'm OK With That

So if you haven't heard yet, writing books does pay. Or at least it does for some. Kathy Griffin, for instance. The news is that Kathy, or at least her agent has, landed a plump and juicy $2 million book deal. For one book, as far as I know. Kathy Griffin is a comedian, very funny, with a reality show on Bravo that I watch and really enjoy.

I had a fun filled late lunch with my writer friends Anne and Heather on Sunday and Anne mentioned how agents are being inundated with queries from potential authors who are convinced that finally getting around to writing that book they've always meant to write is their magic carpet away from the recession. Really, they think, how hard can it be? Kathy Griffin is getting $2 million and she's not even going to write her book.

Well, yes and no. I'm sure Kathy will be getting some help with her book from her editor, a ghost writer, assistants, etc... Hell, if I could afford it, I'd pay someone to write my books for me. It's the American way, ain't it, to farm work out to others who are willing to do it for not so much pay and even less recognition. But the awful, terrible, very unglamorous truth these aspiring writers won't want to hear is that writing a book is hard work. Recession or no recession, nothing will depress you more than writing a book.

It takes a lot of time, even if you're a very clean and disciplined writer. It'll take even more time if you're not. And there is no guarantee your book will ever be published or that you'll even get a courtesy of a rejection from the agent(s) you've queried. They're beyond overwhelmed, so the tales go, especially the good ones. I'm sure even the bad ones, and there are plenty, are groaning at the size of their in-boxes every morning.

Think of it, this book writing thing, like trying to acquire abs. A few sit-ups every once in a while followed by a big plate of nachos isn't going to give you the results you think you deserve. I've written four or five, have seen three published and I still don't have abs or $2 million in the bank. But I don't begrudge Kathy Griffin her money. Big book deals happen, they just happen to other people and I'm OK with that. Really. Abs, on the other hand, are doable. I just need to lay off the nachos.

Addendum @ 10:39 AM:
My good friend Laura in San Francisco sent me a super depressing story. Novella Carpenter (what a name for a writer, both a blessing and a curse) writes about what a suck fest publishing is these days. Waaaah!


Angelina said...

Margo, thanks for your honesty. I am working at finishing a book after too many years of just wishing and hoping. The thing is, sometimes I get down on myself because I think, if I am having so much trouble doing the work, it must be because I am not good enough. Thank your for sharing that even successful writers like yourself really have to work hard to get it done.

Margo Candela said...


Writing is hard work*. Anyone who claims otherwise is either shilling a how-to book or trying to get you to enroll in their how-to seminar. I could be trite (I love trite in the morning!) and offer up the following: "As with most difficult and trying endeavors in life, it is the hard work which makes it worth the struggle." Bleh! Instead, I'll leave you with some truly valuable advice: "Reach for the stars!"

*It took me 10 minutes to write this off the cuff response to your comment and I revised it at least six times.