I’m horrible when it comes to patience. For example, when I was growing up, I always hunted for my Christmas presents in advance. I always found them and should have earned an Oscar nod for my ‘surprised’ performance as we sat around and opened them on Christmas Eve night.
This is why I’m shocked I haven’t lost my mind in the writing world.
Nothing in the field is fast and instant gratification comes with a price. First and foremost, it takes time to craft a story. I might go through five different false starts before I hit on what I really want to do with a piece. If you don’t believe me, I can show you the Word file for the White Creek novel. It took me till the sixth try before I finally found the tone and story I wanted to tell. While working on Hollywood Hellmouth, I’d be slower than the other three authors because I would go back and change what I wrote. I had to step back and not try to rush myself. Patience had to take over so I could see the path of the story and follow it in my mind and to the computer. I got razzed about taking a long time quite a bit…
Second? Re-reading and editing need to take time. I’ve made mistakes and I know I’ll make them again in the future. I have found that when I re-read something I wrote early on, I cringe. Going through the process of writing a story, novel, or novella is an another chance for me to learn something new and fix the errors I made in my first works. I’ve had to find the patience to allow myself the time to grow. Hey, we have to be patient because in this field we should never stop growing and learning new things. One truth I’ve also learned is that good editing is crucial in the process. A good editor will make the stuff you write shine. I want to say this as I hear some speak ill of editors because they didn’t have piece back in an hour (hint: they have lives too). There are a couple of editors I’ve worked with whom I will always be in their debt for the work they do to tidy up the wreckage I send them (and one she knows who she is).
Lastly? Sure we all want to be published and the self-publishing trend has made everyone who can type and connect to the internet an author. I’m not going to say my work is great by any stretch of the imagination, but I feel that there is a certain vetting that happens when a work is released through a press. The Calling, for example, is going to be released from Sirens Call Publications. I decided that I wanted it to go through a press and not be self-pubbed. This was a choice I made so I felt the novella was accepted because it was a good story and not just thrown out on the internet because I thought it was good. Part of that’s because I believe it validates what I’ve written and it has passed a hurdle some books never have to jump (to their detriment). Is it going to come out in a few months? No, it is not. A few years ago, I might’ve been freaking out because the process is taking sooooo long, but now having been in the field for those few years, I understand the time it takes to accept, edit, create a cover, format, and set up promotions for a book’s release. So, while The Calling is coming down the pipeline, you know what my job is? My job is to get the next pieces complete and in the pipeline. It’s easy for me to go on with the next project than it is sit around and wonder what page the editor is on or how long it’s going to take for something. One doesn’t sit around and wonder what row of corn a farmer is planting at the moment when they are shopping for an ear of corn. I know everything is in good hands and the final product will be the best it can be.
Patience is virtue.
I can say that I’ve learned that lesson and I’ve become a better person for it. The first few times I submitted stories, I would check my email every five minutes to see if I’d received a response back yet. Now, I know that it takes time for things to unfold through the process and when the time comes, it comes. In the end, the book will be better and worth having the patience to see it through to fruition.
So remember, next time you see that publisher or editor, give them some love for the work they do. If we’re patient with them and they are with us, we can make the magic happen time after time. Our craft is one of patience and time if we want the best work we can put out.
Wait… I digress. Winter. This winter needs to go away and I’m growing impatient for spring to arrive….
Stay warm and goodnight…