Publishing a book is not a race, though it can often feel like one. I really empathize with the sense of pressure many writers might feel to produce, or the perception that the success of their book doesn’t “measure up” to another’s, especially when scrolling through social media. I imagine that for many writers it can constantly seem like there’s a rush to finish a project, to remain visible and relevant.
With all the noise around them, it is essential for writers to remember to take their time. Great writing does not have an expiration date. Amazing characters and stories live forever. I think it is always important to remind oneself that every book has its own life and journey, and that success comes in many forms and at many different stages of one’s career.
There is so much we cannot control—which books sell, which books get reviewed and where, which books win prizes. The main thing that you as a writer can control is what is directly in front of you: your narrative and your words. Spend time on your sentences. Get to know your characters, your story, your research. Enjoy, as much as you can, the time you’ll have to edit, to engage with the work in a deep way. Use the time you have before your book goes into production to make it the very best it can be. Focus on the work and trust your gut. That way, no matter what happens beyond publication, you’ll know that you are proud of what you’ve made, and that you gave it your all.
—Katie Raissian, senior editor, Grove Atlantic