My daughter-in-law Jamie, whose first story will appear in the anthology The North Coast: 2034, has a tag line at the end of all her email. It's a quote from one Allan Rousselle: "Writing is a very weird profession: you have to do all the work long before you find out if you'll ever get paid." True enough, but not the only way that writing is a weird profession. Not by a long shot.
My YA fantasy novel, a thing I thought I would never write at all, is now at over 40,000 words. It has glided along easily, the words flowing smoothly as expensive chocolate. This is not necessarily a good thing. Does ease in writing a story mean that it's too facile, too derivative because not enough thought and invention has gone into characters or plot? Is it better to have a "shittin' rocks" story, that inelegant but accurate term for a story that you sweat over, grunt at, and finally get out? Does effort mean originality?
After thirty years of writing, I honestly don't know the answer to this question. I have had stories that flowed easily and needed little revision (two were "Out of All Them Bright Stars" and "The Erdmann Nexus," the latter in this month's ASIMOV'S.) I've also had stories that wrote very slowly, with endless revision, such as "The Flowers of Aulit Prison" and "Fountain of Age." There doesn't seem to be a pattern, at least not for me. So I have no way of knowing if my current effort is any good. I'm enjoying writing it, but I can attest with complete certainty to the fact that enjoyment is no guarantee of success. I've loved writing stories and novels that never sold at all.
A very weird profession.