Volumes of work

10395855_10204537157324351_8209789528467254207_nFrom a Facebook post, November 7, 2014:

This afternoon I sat at a table in the Dickinson College library and worked on a couple things, but mainly, I read and tried to puzzle through the novel I’m working on right now. I’ve tried several different approaches and none of them has worked yet…
…and as I sat there, I became aware of the energy in the stacks around me, and I started to count.
There were 9 rows of shelving just in the small section where I was sitting.


Each row of shelving had two sides of shelves.

Each side had six sections of shelves.

Each of those sections was seven shelves tall. In some of the sections, there were books on all seven shelves, while in others, there were only six full shelves.

Each of those shelves had about 30 books on it.


9 rows x 2 sides x 6 units x 6 shelves x 30 books…

…meant that there were approximately 19,440 books in the small section where I was sitting (again, a conservative estimate, since some of the shelving units had seven full shelves).

And this is just a small section of a three-story library.

I wrote my novel MEETING DENNIS WILSON, basically, in about 18 months.
I started the new novel, SWITCH, about 3 months ago and I’ve agonized over the first 80-some pages for the past month.

So let’s say that some of these writers were much more efficient than me and wrote their books fast, while others agonized worse than I did. 18 months per book is a conservative estimate, right?

Think of the writing hours that those 19,440 volumes represent.

Strangely, after I wrote about this in my journal, I sat down and got to work, and I found that the revisions to SWITCH came easily.

It’s all about perspective, folks.

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