I think it’s that each time you produce it, it has to be completely different, but just as good.

In that way it’s a bit like winning the World Series. Once you’ve won, that doesn’t mean anything, you have to go out and do it again.

And the way you do it, and the players you do it with, will never be exactly the same way it was when it all came together to win the top prize.

In writing, the top prize is an amazing story.

So many factors have to come together seamlessly, flawlessly.

Have you ever looked at the credits of a movie that really impressed you? Chances are those credits went on for two or three minutes, scrolling down hundreds of names of people who were involved in the creation of that movie, from producers to directors, to actors to writers, to foley artists and casting specialists and special effects and costume direction.

Why else do they have so many oscars for all those things in Hollywood?

The Hollywood academy recognizes that each of those tasks, all contribute to the whole, and when they work…it’s magical.

Now with writing a novel, the writer, they’re the casting director, the film director, and everything else too.

They’re the ones who have to put together the cast  (characters), and each character needs to be essential for the story to unfold. And the writer chooses the setting, describes the setting, the ‘camera angles’, what to focus on and when, for the pacing of the story to be just right. The writer edits the action sequences, showing only what moves the story along, keeping the pace high so the reader doesn’t get bored.

And setting the atmosphere for each scene, writers don’t have mood music at their disposal. We have to do that with words, with observations, with the way people do things and say things, that will convey what’s going on underneath.

And all that time you’re writing that story, you have to make every action and reaction of every character from your main protagonist to your darkest villain, completely believable and yet not quite predictable.

And you have to do it so flawlessly that the trick is in making the reader, forget that they’re reading words on the pages of a book. Dead lifeless letters, marks of ink, from some printer in Singapore.

And if you accomplish something special, if you really do it, you move people, either to laughter or to tears, then you should feel proud of yourself.

It was no mean feat.

Especially in this day and age when everyone is so jaded.

And whether or not the reviews reflect it, it doesn’t matter. They’re written by people who probably can’t do what you just did, to save their life.

They’re critics.

Anyone can be a critic.

But when the galleys of your amazing story have been proofed and the book is off to the publisher, you have to put all that behind you. It’s like the World Series. You have to start all over again.

You may have won your crown, but now you’ve got to go for it again. With a different team (characters), a different stadium (setting), even a different game and set of rules (plot). And you can’t make it like the other one or won’t people be saying, look she’s getting stale.

And you have to forge ahead with no guarrantee you will ever be successful.

With a niggling little voice in the back of your head that tells you you’re a fraud and asks, who are you trying to fool?

With family members who take it for granted that you’re going to give them a free copy, whenever it comes out.

With other family members who warn you not to let it get to your head.

And if the new story is not as good, then come the looks.

The looks of disappointment.

And you wonder, am I slipping?

Will I ever be that good again?

But at least writing is not like sports in one way.

With writing, you tend to get better with age. That is if you can keep going.

Through all the disappointing reviews.

Through all the nasty criticisms.

At least you hope you’ll get better.

There really are no guarrantees.