“The greatest part of a writer’s time is spent in reading in order to write; a man will turn over half a library to make one book.”
- Samuel Johnson
“How was your week?”
“Cold. How was yours?”
“Great. Warm, thanks.”
I chose to ignore the remark. While the Business Guy was away doing business in warmer climes, I was dressed in four layers of extreme woolies, battling frozen pipes and trying to persuade the 95%-husky who calls us her pack that it was business as usual first thing in the morning and last thing at night. She was not impressed; did not want to go outside. What was impressive was her, ahem, capacity.
I also read. A lot.
“Get a lot of business done?” I asked (not the kind of business the dog was avoiding).
“Lots, yes. How about you – get a lot of writing done?”
“Er, well…” I cast my thoughts to the couple of pages I’d added to the manuscript earlier in the week, before the deep freeze had settled in across the land, and, apparently, my brain also. “Not much new writing, no. Submissions, mostly. And a lot of reading.”
I sighed, thinking about the hours I’d spent researching literary journals, writing and rewriting query letters, revising stories, and addressing envelopes; also about the Helen Humphreys novel* I’d just brought home from the library, having finished her latest novel** a few days ago.
“Ah,” said the Business Guy, nodding his head. “Sales and R&D.”
“Sorry, what?” I cast my mind about, wondering why the Business Guy might assume I’d spent my time listening to Ray Charles, the father of rhythm-and-blues.
“You know, Sales. You were pushing your product out the door by preparing submissions. And Research-and-Development.”
“Oh, R&D!” My brain was beginning to thaw.
“That’s right. You were learning about your craft by reading other peoples’ work.”
I liked what I was hearing. The Business Guy makes a lot of sense, especially when he’s trying to make sense of what I do.
Writing, as I need reminding from time to time, is not simply the act of putting words on paper. It’s a business with several different components to it, all of which need attention. Right now I’m in a Sales and R&D phase.
It’s warmed up outside a little. Think I’ll go and put on some Ray Charles for inspiration and strategize my next sales pitch.
But first I’d better walk the dog. She’s looking a little, shall we say, over capacity.