I was walking home today and I ended up waiting at a streetlight next to two other people. One of them was trying to talk about his writing, and the other was interrupting. A lot. I’m sure he thought he was scoring very clever points.
“What do you mean, a book is forty thousand words?”
“Of course I’ve read a book. I read!”
“How can the internet screw it up? How can a book be ten words?”
And he was just badgering. And I wish I’d said something. I didn’t, because it was a private conversation and because the oh-so-clever man struck me as belligerent and possibly slightly drunk, and I was very tired and afraid of starting an argument.
But the other man was just trying to explain that he’d written forty thousand words, and that it was time to start trimming it down, and getting dragged into a discussion of work definitions by length, and…
I wish I’d said something. I wish I’d said excuse me, sir, you wrote forty thousand words? That’s amazing. Congratulations. Or something. Something to weigh in and let him know that deserved better than someone trying to chew at him over wordcount.
Never undervalue your work. Never undervalue the words you put down and hang together. Not everyone will know that it’s hard, not everyone will listen when you try to tell them.
But please know you’ve done something grand.