Notes on the long game: Hild
15 November 2013
I’m crossposting this from Sterling Editing.
Writing is what I like to call a long game. It takes as long as it takes to write the best book we can. It takes as long as it takes to find the right editor and publishing path. It takes as long as it takes for the book to find its readers. Through it all, we must keep writing and reading. We must keep learning, stretching, reaching for the best within us. We must find our community of practice — the people who help us be better writers — and our community of support — those who encourage us, love us, feed us comfort food, let us give up writing for 24 hours because we’ve just been rejected again, but never let us give up writing for real.
All these things take work, energy, focus, commitment, the ability to find good feedback and do something constructive with it, and occasional long stretches of sheer stubbornness. And then one day the book is ready. And then it is out.
This week, Nicola’s novel Hild is out.
It’s been a long process. Nicola has been thinking about some aspects of this story for more than 20 years; researching for 10; writing and editing for 4; preparing specifically for this week with many months of very hard work. She has spent years building her relationships with her editor, readers, booksellers, reviewers, publicists, and other writers. She has been a part of the generosity economy that is so necessary to writing (to everything!) these days. And this week, her long-term investment is paying off with terrific reviews, many interviews, and lots of articles by Nicola about the book. Check out her latest update and follow the links. Read the reviews at NPR Books, at Vulpes Libris, at The Seattle Times, at Los Angeles Review of Books.
That’s the payoff for the long game of the writing itself. The payoff for the community came on Wednesday night, with a reading and launch party at Seattle’s Hugo House. Standing room only. Friends, family, readers, writers, people who read the reviews, people who love historical fiction. All sorts of people came to hear Nicola read from Hild and answer questions about the book. The goodwill in the room was so overwhelming that I thought my heart would burst.
People love a good story well told. People love to read. People love to connect with characters and the writers who bring them to life. Cue the Field of Dreams music: If you build it, they will come.
So today I want to say to everyone who writes: keep building. Believe in the long game. Don’t aspire to be a writer: go be one. If you write, you are a writer. If you stick it for the long game, if you play to be the best writer you can be, then you win the most important prize of all.
Thank you all for your support of Nicola’s work, and mine, and Sterling Editing. We appreciate you all.