A portrait of the artist.

How must it feel as a writer, whilst surfing the blogosphere, to stumble on someone who's read your written work and taken the time to comment? Never mind if it's yea or nay, positive or negative, for the purposes of this particular argument. How would it feel to find it took the reader/blogger less time to read the fruits of your labor than it took you, the author, to write just one small part of it?

Would it make you angry?  Annoyed? Or does it just not matter?

I zip through a lot of books so quickly I'm surprised the pages don't catch fire. Sometimes it's because they're good and I just can't stop, but other times I just can't wait to be done with them so I can toss them out the door.

If you're an author, how do you feel knowing I – or insert the name of any blogger here – blew through your book in an incredibly short period of time?

I wonder.

Lately I've been helping a friend by proofing the first draft of her manuscript, knowing somewhat the work it took her to get as far as she has, appreciating the time and sacrifices she's made. After I, and the others also proofing, give our thoughts back to her she'll go over that, changing some things and leaving others, possibly rewriting the entire draft. And that, too, will take time.

After that, if she needs me I can help proof again. Until she gets to what she's decided is her final draft. Then, working with an editor or editors of a publishing house, revising and tweaking.

All that work. All that time.

When a book feels effortless to read, you know an awful lot went into its writing. A lot of time, and probably a lot of collaborative effort. So maybe writers aren't upset knowing no one could ever take as long to read their work as it took to perfect it and get it out there. Because that could hardly be possible.

Interesting to think about that divide between the artist and the public, creation and consumption. Knowing what's put into something may be appreciated less the more you put in, the more seamless the composition the less work it seems to have been.

I suppose, if you're the artist, you come to accept that as a part of creation. That, or the process is so enjoyable what comes after is just icing on the cake. When done right, what a cake it can be.

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