My favorite part of writing

Photo: Mateusz Łapsa-Malawski

It’s different for every writer.

Most writers agree that rewriting is their least favorite part. But we all have different favorites when it comes to the entire “conception to publication” process.

For me, it’s not when I start on a book. It’s not even when I finally finish writing a book (you never really finish writing a book, you just abandon it at some point).

Surprisingly, it’s not even when the advance copy of my book arrives in the mail from the publisher.

Nope. For me the best part is the contract.

Sounds odd. Let me explain.

The contract is the publishing world’s equivalent to a love letter. Someone else–an expert no less–has weighed the merits of you, your writing ability, and your idea, and they have said yes.

The contract represents acceptance. Approval. Affirmation. You’re not the failure your older brothers thought you were…the contract says so.

Whether it’s an assignment for a magazine article or a contract for a book, I’ve always loved this part the most.

I’ve also hated it the most.

That’s right. After a brief celebration filled with self-congratulations, my confidence is replaced by dread.

What have I done?

This is a contract! A legal document guaranteeing I’m going to write something that others will pay money to read.

Look at all of those blank pages! What was I thinking to promise that I could fill them up with readable ideas I’ve not yet thought of?

My brothers were right after all!

Eventually I calm down. I sit at my computer and I write. One word, one sentence, and one page at a time. I use time to my advantage by writing a daily quota of words, and voila! A book emerges after a few months.

My second favorite part of the process is getting my first copy in the mail. I like to sit alone holding my new book in my hands while I reflect on our journey together.



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