I started out writing short stories and have had about forty of them published. I’ve probably written another ten or fifteen that no publisher wanted because they weren’t very good. Oh hell, all right, they were terrible and should never have seen the light of day.

Writing short stories is hard. The story is condensed and there is little time for back story or extensive character development. Each word is precious. The idea is to hit the reader hard and fast. It’s a 5K race instead of a marathon. If we’re talking about flash fiction, it’s a sprint.

I started writing novels in 2011. It took me a year to find anyone who wanted my first book, “Winter Songs.” I’ve had four novels published since then, and my next one is scheduled for release in January.

Writing novels is hard. Now we’re talking about extensive character development, back story, detailed plotting, sub-plots, tension, suspense, and misdirection. At the same time, the writer needs to be aware of the narrative’s arc, a fancy term that refers to the pace of the story. I have an approximate word count in mind for every book I write. It’s an important tool I use in laying out the story for the reader. Did I mention that the actual story better be something worth reading? The best writing in the world won’t save a lousy story. I guess that goes without saying.

Do you still want to know the hardest thing about writing? It’s taking a magnificent idea for a character, scene, dialogue, or story concept from my brain to my fingers that are poised over the keyboard. The bad news is that it’s almost impossible to transmit that level of eloquence from the mind to the page without losing something in the process. The good news is that I’m getting better at doing it.

In my mind, I’m a Pulitzer Prize winner. Aren’t we all?