I raked a lot of leaves yesterday. My youngest jumped up and down elated when I gave her the signal it was okay to run and leap in. She flung her arms in the air and rolled around, giggling, full of life. She even swam in the leaves, communicating in an instant what a blast she was having.
If you’ve spent time raking leaves, you know the kind of exertion it takes. Especially if you have a massive maple in your front yard that sheds at the slightest puff of wind. There’s blood, sweat, and tears involved. Or at least one of the three if you’re doing it right.
Work. Hard work put in.
It’s motivating, while gathering leaves in gargantuan piles, to meditate on the smile that will be on my daughter’s face when she dives in the bed of bright autumn foliage. Yesterday, I was thinking about how raking parallels with writing a novel. Whipping up a novel isn’t child’s play. You need discipline, tenacity, and the tested ability to throw your pride out the window on a daily basis. There are characters to carve out and plot lines to dissect and rewrite a million times. There are words to chop and chapters to switch around. Writing a novel isn’t like having a gigantic tarp under your maple ready and waiting to catch every leaf that falls. No, ideas need to be dragged together. Sweatshirts need to be shucked and long sleeves rolled up. It’s a dirty, bedraggled experience.
And we, the authors, we do it for you.
We do it for the smiles, for our readers to get the feeling you’re swimming in a world gathered up just for you.
The way I see it, I work hard, my readers play hard.
And that makes me smile.