I’ve decided I want to be Nora Roberts when I grow up.
I don’t mean that in the sense that I want to be as wildly successful as she is (although I wouldn’t say no). I don’t even mean that in the sense that I want to write as many books as she does (with the day job, that’s just not an option–and even without the day job, I’m not so sure).
No. What I mean is this: I want to have her integrity.
I’ve read fifteen or so books by Nora/J.D. Robb–a tiny percentage of her output, to be sure, but a respectable sampling, with the books spread across maybe a decade and a half of her career. I have loved some of those books–absolutely loved them to tears. I have merely liked some of them. I haven’t hated any of them, ever.
The one thing I have never thought of a book written by Nora Roberts is this: “Wow, she really phoned it in. It’s obvious she did no research, put no thought into this, and just let this one slide because she had better things to do.”
Nope. Every single book that Nora has put out, I’ve basically thought she gave it her all.
Just think about what that means. At this point, Nora could write a handful of stinkers for years and years on end, before her millions of fans gave up on her in disgust. She could sell a kazillion copies, make millions and millions of dollars for herself and her publisher–and put in easily a quarter of the effort that she does.
Let’s face it. Human nature being what it is, most people upon being told they could make millions and millions of dollars while making a modicum of effort, would not go far.
So why doesn’t Nora do that? Why, after all these years, can I walk into a store and pick up a book by Nora and know that it will be well-researched, well-written, well-edited?
There’s really only one reason for it, that I can think of: Nora has integrity. She knows her readers deserve her best, and so that’s what she delivers.
So when I say I want to be like Nora Roberts when I grow up, that’s what I mean. I don’t ever want to get to the point where I think it doesn’t matter any more, that I don’t have to do my best. I don’t ever want to look at something and say, “enh, that’s good enough.”
Good enough is for dishes. (Don’t tell Mr. Milan I said that.)