It is perfectly natural – perhaps inevitable – to dream of being “discovered” and rocketed to the top of the Bestseller list. As Americans, we’ve been trained to dream in this way.
But the real life of a writer resides in showing up at the keyboard every day, with the necessary patience and mercy, and making the best decisions you can on behalf of your people. It’s a slow process. It often feels hopeless, more like an affliction than an art form.
Most of us will have to find our readers one by one, in other words, and against considerable resistance. If anything qualifies us as heroic, it’s that private perpetual struggle.
But for every anecdote about writing, there is an opposite and equally compelling counterexample. Generalizations about writing, it seems, are impossible to draw. Here is the Q and A on the New Yorker website with 20-Under-40 writer C.E. Morgan, whose story "Twins" is featured in the June 14 and 21 issue:
Q: How long did it take you to write your first book?
A: The first draft was written in fourteen days.
In fairness, she goes on to say, "the editing was completed in the course of two semesters in graduate school," but still.