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The load

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A solid 80 percent of nonfiction book writing sucks.

I’m not exaggerating. Eighty percent. Maybe more. You work long hours. You make call after call after call. You either transcribe your interviews (which blows) or you pay a service to transcribe your interviews (which also blows). You go through days where every work that leaves your brain and winds up on a laptop screen is awful. You go through days where cliches mistakenly seem like genius. You go through days where you unload 1,000 words, feel terrific, then realize none of those 1,000 words will make the cut. You go through days (as I did last week) when you accidentally delete stuff you absolutely, positively could not afford to accidentally delete.

Writing is mental torture. You love hate love late love hate love hate hate hate everything you produce. You stay up until the wee hours, guzzling coffee that leaves you unable to sleep. Your draft is due in two weeks, but you know that’s impossible. Your editor quits midway through your assignment. Your agent retires. You’re reminded every day of the industry’s woes.

Again—a solid 80 percent of nonfiction book writing sucks.

But here’s the thing: The 20 percent kicks ass.

Truly.

Truly.

Truly.

Kicks ass.

And that’s what keeps me going.

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