Reader Friday: Hard Time

“Why shouldn’t you have a hard time? If it was easy, any little mug could chisel in on the racket, and it wouldn’t be any good for anybody. It doesn’t take brains, certainly, to be a freelance fiction racketeer… but it takes an ironclad intestinal tract.” — Jack Woodford



6 thoughts on “Reader Friday: Hard Time

  1. Just had an experience with a beta reader who’s been absolutely loving the manuscript, reading voraciously, and giving me feedback every few chapters. But just as she got to the point where the reveals come at you hard and fast, she stopped responding. Trying not to panic, I first said, it’s a holiday (July 4th,) then a weekend, and then, she’s got a family and job to worry about, and then…
    Before you know it, I had the entire story rewritten or thrown in the trash. A week later, she writes and says how all hell has broken loose in her life, but that she’s finally gotten to the chapters in question and absolutely loved them.
    Okay, so I won’t throw 18 months work out. But yeah, “an ironclad intestinal tract” sums it up nicely.

    • Ed,
      We are all like turtles without shells. Easily crushed. So glad you didn’t give up.

  2. It DOES take brains. And definitely ironclad intestinal tract. And patience. Lots and lots of patience. And the ability to keep believing in yourself through all the troughs and valleys.

  3. Two of my writing acquaintances were very successful in their genres. Both sold their first book to a NY conglomerate and didn’t look back. Neither had an editor who gave them rewrite hell for eight or so books. Then an editor said, “This book has problems. You need to rewrite it”. Both said “To hell with you,” and walked away from their careers.

    Other acquaintances, mostly in romance where rewrite hell is an everyday happening, shrug at the rewrite leter, rewrite the book, or reshape their career path and continue on.

    Rejections and rewrites give you spine and the ability to move forward. This is not a business for sissies and prima donnas.

    • An editor said, “this book has problems.”

      Yeah, the author, who couldn’t take input. 🙂

  4. This is like that idea that the harder you work the more successful you are. I first heard that said by an actress who was asked about how lucky she was. Her reply was “Isn’t it funny that the harder I’ve worked the luckier I’ve been.” I believe that whether it’s writing, or some other artistic pursuit, or sport, or business, sometimes the people who make it are not necessarily the most talented, but the ones who haven’t given up. Imagine if JK Rowling had given up after her first rejection! Or even after her 11th. An ironclad intestinal tract definitely helps!


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