Friday, August 11, 2006

The Waiting Game

If patience is a virtue, then we writers are saints.

I mean, first we need the patience to write the damn book. Which, when you consider all the other things we could be doing—reading, watching TV, SLEEPING—to plaster our butts in uncomfortable chairs second after second, minute after minute, hour after hour, day after day, week after week, month after month, and yes—eek—year after year….well, like I said…we need lots of patience.

Back when I first started writing, I couldn’t WAIT to enter my first sure-to-be-a-winner novel in contests. But noooooo…you’re not supposed to do that until you finish the book.

So I waited.

Next, I couldn’t WAIT to query agents and editors with my sure-fire no-doubt-about-it this-is-really-the-one novel. But nooooo…you’re not supposed to do that until you finish the book.

So I waited.

Finally, I finished. And, guess what? Yep. More waiting. Up to six months for contest entries and agents. Up to a YEAR for editors.

Wait, wait, wait…and then…wait some more.

Let’s not even discuss the patience a writer needs in order to deal with spouses, boyfriends, children, parents, siblings, friends and co-workers who don’t get “the dream.”

But mostly, we have to learn to be patient with ourselves—that learning our craft takes time. That with each page we write, we’re that much closer to the goal. That even when we delete a scene that took days to write, the one we replace it with will be that much stronger, tighter, riveting. That even if we never sell the book, we’ve gotten the story out of our heads and onto the page. We’ve given it a chance.

I guess in a culture that values instant gratification, it’s no surprise that some of us, er, struggle with the concept.


Brooke said...

LOL!!! Ain't this the truth! I used to be a fairly patient person..but I have to agree... the business of writing certainly does push the envelope.

Oh well...if we weren't writing and waiting, what else would we be doing? Hmmm... don't answer that!

John said...

I started Runners fifteen years ago, with futuristic events that now are ten years old. Time travels on, with or without finishing. However, writers write, and getting it on the page does help, until the next story starts complaining about lack of air time. Keep writing, Randy, you muse will love you for it. Do you have one? Memory...

randy said...

One what? Muse? Or memory? Ha. Memory yes, muse no.

John said...

I couldn't remember if you ever referenced a muse. Obviously, I have neither.