This afternoon in my art loft, I spent a few hours catching up on all the emails I’ve ignored this week in order to help put on the Providence Hospice of Seattle Foundation fundraiser. Over a glass of iced tea, I read and responded to emails, wrote to-do lists and tackled a few smaller projects. This is what happened out my window as I worked:
In less than an hour, a house that stood on the corner of my neighborhood for over three decades was demolished. How long did it take to build that house? A year, maybe? And now it’s gone.
After taking pictures from my roof deck, I went back to writing book two, the follow up to Four Rubbings. The novel’s sketched out in two notebooks, but I’m working in earnest to finish the manuscript before the first of the year. The hours I’ve put into it are already countless. I’ve done research, collected images, fact checked, not to mention the time I’ve invested in creating my cast of characters in the first place. In fact, I usually talk about the teens in my book as though they’re my own children, my four kids that live on paper. The actual writing of the story will go quickly, but I’ve no doubt it will consume me in the months to come. Why? Because I get inside their heads, set them in a situation and watch where they go and how they react. I quietly take notes, or write what you would call a first-draft.
I’m not unique, nor is my process. The fermentation of the story and characters, the editing, the proofing and finally the publication, it’s how a book is born. Even for the most prolific authors, like bestselling author, Tess Thompson, who writes 2-3 books a year, the process takes time.
And like that house across the street from me, the final product can be torn down in a blink: one reviewer, one bad blog post, one incensed reader and what took months to build can crumble down. Amazon’s been criticized for taking a day or more to post five-star reviews, but posting one-star reviews immediately. That needs to change.
I’m not asking you to stop reviewing books honestly, but be fair. If you hate romances, downloaded the book by accident, and didn’t read past the first chapter, then don’t post a review. Please. Don’t tear down a book that wasn’t written for you. Be mindful of the time, process and people behind the book, and act accordingly. Then, when you sit behind that desk and write your own novel, we’ll grant you the same kindness and consideration. We will.