So I saw a maxim scribbled across an athletic shirt that caught my attention. Now, generally speaking, I absolutely hate athletic shirts with silly slogans on them. Every time I see a forty year old dude wearing Oakleys like he’s fucking Kenny Powers with his stomach hanging out of the bottom of his Under Armour shirt that declares ‘Clutch Performer’ I have an urge to ask him when, exactly, he performs under pressure. Probably a knee jerk dickhead reaction on my part, but hey, it’s how I feel. Back on task, I saw a shirt and the motto read, ‘Embrace the grind’. Holy shit, I want one of those, but not for all that athletic shit. Ten thousand practice free throws a day is not my kind of grind.
But you know what is my kind of grind? Yeah, you guessed it, wordsmithing. If you aren’t a writer and think that writing a novel is as easy as dropping your ass in front of your laptop/word processor/typewriter/stone tablet and kicking out a hundred thousand or so words, you’re right. Well, sort of. Let’s just say you have made it through the entire process of finishing a complete novel. Counting beta reads and editing and all that jazz. Congrats, you’re a novelist. What’s next? Sit down and write your follow up masterpiece, right?
Wrong. Fucking wrong.
If you want to make any money off your novel you need to write a query letter and synopsis and research what agent would be the best fit for your hundred and sixty thousand word epic about a corn kernel’s journey through the small intestines of an aging biker. Then you get picked by an agent or publisher, you’re done right? Not quite Mr. Jumpy Pants. Drop some lead right in the seat of your Levi’s because there’s marketing to be done. Interviews, blog tours, and all kinds of other ‘hey, I wrote a book’ kind of posturing. Oh yeah, while you were writing your book however many months ago, you probably should have been blogging about what the fuck ever people blog about to build an audience. Yeah, audiences buy books. Sold books continue writing ‘careers’ and yes, I use the word career loosely.
So, that second book you were going to start, you remember the one right? Yeah, you had that kick ass idea for a story about a werewolf that changes form every time someone squeaks a squeaky toy titled ‘Like an Lichan’. It’s time to get started on that bad boy. NO, WAIT I SAY. Your publisher loved your breakout hit Colon Kernel and now they’ve requested a sequel. They wan’t to know if you can have them the first draft in two months.
Okay, so that whole scenario is a bit blown up, it’s true. But not by much. Sustaining a writing career (There’s that fucking word again. I don’t mean that you make a living off your writing, I just mean the act of your writing and everything around it) takes a lot of work. There is always a deadline (self imposed or outside imposed) and there is always pressure to perform. This book has to be better than the last one. I need to sell more copies. I need to diversify my bibliography. I need to actually find time to read other people’s books. I promised x,y, and z beta reads this month that I need to do. I need to blog. I need to market. I need to sit in a corner and cry for all my hard work that’s gotten no recognition.
You are always being pulled in a million different directions and at time it feels like too much to handle. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the shit you don’t think about. That’s exactly the time you need to embrace the grind. This is why you do this. This is what you wanted, right? It’s what I wanted. I want fans to read my books and beg for more. I want to write more to give them. I want to share what I have to say, that’s why I started sharing my writing in the first place. So I say it again embrace the grind. That’s fucking right.
We’ve all got shit to do and shit we want to do. If writing is the thing you want to do, then you know what you’ve got to do. That’s right. Embrace the mother fucking grind.