Reality Check Writers are a lot of things

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Paul Whybrow

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Jun 20, 2015
Cornwall, UK
I’m currently working my way through Peter Ginna’s What Editors Do: The Art, Craft & Business of Book Editing, reading a few pages at a time before laying down for the night.

This paragraph made me smile:

Writers are a lot of things: depressed, funny, paranoid, anxious, competitive, compulsive, surly, sorry, ambitious, brilliant, insightful, perceptive, intense, psychologically acute, dreamy, and indefatigable. They love to fight and seek forgiveness. They want to alone and loved by all. They will push an editor to the edge and then over it. They love to procrastinate. They love to send emails in the middle of the night. They need to make sure you are thinking about them. Writers cry, complain, gnash. Authors let their freak flags fly. They are insecure because everything about their lives is insecure. Make a living writing? Put their life’s work in the hands of publishers? Even the most successful writer lives out on a limb. It’s a deeply risky and precarious way to live. It can be equally thrilling and demoralizing. It’s life on a high wire and there is nothing like it: creating original work. Making something out of nothing, pulling rabbits from hats. However much power it feels like the publisher has, it’s the writer ultimately, who has the power to create.

That’s one of the best descriptions of being a writer I’ve seen, though it doesn’t include being bored.

As 2020 draws to a close, I spent another day yesterday working my way through tedium as I prepared the chapters of Book 4 of my Cornish Detective series to upload to ACX for consideration as being OK to appear on the shelves of Audible.

I devoted eight mind-numbing hours to this, repeatedly applying the effects needed to satisfy the requirements of Audacity’s ACX Check Analyzer. I figured that uploading 38 chapters to ACX would take me an hour. It took me three-and-a-half, for ACX was obstructive and illogical, stating in one place that there were problems with the upload, while on another page the Upload Manager reassured me that there were no problems! I had to submit some chapters five times to make the warning message go away.

I won’t know if there were any ‘problems’ for at least a month, as that’s how long it takes ACX to run their quality control check.

Asking questions of ACX’s customer service team feels like being an amoeba in a puddle asking a T-Rex why it’s just crapped on me! Amazon’s customer service team are brilliant, but ACX is unreachable.

Overall, I’m glad that I decided to create audiobooks of my crime series, but since April 23rd when I started, I’ve worked 12-hour days every day to get the task completed. By late tonight, I’ll have uploaded all five titles. Do I have a sense of achievement? Not really. I’m more relieved that I don’t have to do it anymore and that I can return to creative writing, which brings me joy.

At the moment, I feel bored, annoyed and frustrated.

How do you feel about your writing year?

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