Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Patience, Young Writers

Ever feel like this?

As writers, I think we all do occasionally sometimes ALL THE TIME! Cause let's face it--EVERYTHING about this process is slow.

Writing a book takes forever! 
(well, unless you're Kiersten White
(But then people want to throw things at you at least half the time) 
(it's a good thing she's so hilariously adorable)

Waiting on CP feedback takes forever!
(I suppose it would go faster if my drafts had less flaws)

Revising a book takes forever!
(why is it so hard to make it GOOD?)

Querying takes forever!
(okay, I'll admit, my 2-week whirlwind process probably doesn't count as forever)
(but it still FELT like it)
(*ducks all the things you're flinging at me*)

And even when you FINALLY sell the book, it takes 1-2 YEARS to be released!

All of which means we writers need to cultivate TREMENDOUS amounts of patience.

But I've discovered something these last couple of years, that I wanted to share with you. PATIENCE and WAITING are two different things.

PATIENCE is a state of mind. Not giving into the frustration. Staying calm. Not trying to rush things that simply cannot be rushed.

But WAITING is an action. It's saying: well, I'm waiting on CP/Agent/Editor Feedback so I can't write today.

And--for me--it's the WAITING that makes PATIENCE so freaking hard to cultivate.  So I've made it a personal goal not to spend time WAITING. If one project has reached a point where it's out of my hands at the moment--I work on something else. If I don't feel ready to dive into something new, I brainstorm. Maybe someday I'll attempt a short story (though my last short story turned into a trilogy so...that's looking iffy.) The point is: I keep busy. And keeping busy helps me to stay (relatively) sane as the writing/publishing process drags along at a snail's pace. I highly recommend you give it a try.

But what about you guys? How to you stay patient as a writer? Any tips or secrets you want to share?


  1. I just throw myself into more work, and start another book.

  2. Some day I just hope to be like Andrew. Dude writes a book like every other month. You're also rather prolific.

    If every book I write takes as long as this first one, I'll only finish like 5 novels before I die. Er - get cryogenically preserved.

  3. Great advice. I'm trying to work on other things while I wait. And I'll be waiting because I'm going to send my revised manuscript to my beta readers today.

  4. My only tip is to keep working away at something, a little every day. If it's the revisions, I keep plugging away. If I'm waiting for a response, I work away on a new story.

  5. Keeping busy is good!!!Yay!

    I guess so long as you are sufficiently distracted by other plans/writing etc - time hopefully will just fly! Take care


  6. I'm not sure I'd recommend my method, but I'm usually writing two books at once -- one co-authored with Meagan Spooner, one solo. Whenever I send a chapter of either off to a CP, my agent or to Meg, I turn to the other. No rest for the wicked! And sometimes, no sanity.

  7. ooh, very good distinction. I'm great at patience. I'm only so-so with waiting. Having something else to work on, though, definitely helps

  8. I think I fall in the same camp as Matt--it's taking me so long to finish my first book, my problem is having too much patience with myself. When I do finish my first draft, I plan on putting it to the side for a few weeks before revisions, and hopefully start on the next one in the meantime. Oh but who am I kidding? I'll probably just find some new books to read and keep telling myself I'll start revising next week.

  9. "though my last short story turned into a trilogy..." <-- Story of my creative mind. :/ :)

    Ah, I'm so glad to be back and reading your blog!! I've missed it (and YOU!)

  10. I totally agree that waiting helps the patience! Or, at least helps to distract you from the fact that you are exercising patience. :)

  11. You continue to inspire me, as ever. This is so timely for me right now (as you know!!) Sometimes I simply just make peace with the fact that the words just aren't coming today and the muse is hiding under the bed somewhere, and I'll just sit outside and try and brainstorm. Sometimes I'll sit and read a YA novel in the same vein as what I'm writing and see how that author handles situations and take notes on what they do really well, what makes the story work or not work for me or note descriptions or lines of dialogue I think they nail. There's always something to learn and do in service of writing even if it's not putting pen to paper that day. And when all else fails, there's cupcakes. :)

  12. All this waiting around is particularly hard when everything else is life moves so quickly!

  13. I just have to keep my nose to the grindstone and focus on things in my everyday life that make me grateful. It's harder than it sounds. :)

  14. That is so very insightful. Waiting does make cultivating patience extremely hard. I think I'm going to have to use this new POV to start resetting goals for myself. Thanks, Shannon. You're awesome!

  15. I think it's important to try to move on with the next project while querying, personally. :)

  16. I do sort of want to fling stuff at you...but like a pillow or something not like a pitchfork.

    I am so busy the time is flying by so I don't have a problem with waiting or patience. But I also start working on next project as soon as one is done. I have a lot rolling around upstairs.lol That doesn't really sound good...

  17. Patience is a toughy! I think it's smart to work on something else in the mean time. It keeps you occupied so you not losing your mind, like you said and it keeps you writing and skills fresh. :)
    Lisa ~ YA Literature Lover

  18. I'm getting impatient... with myself. I need to finish revising so I can send my draft to beta readers and move on with my life! I'm impatient to start looking at agents and querying, but I need to give myself time. It's my own goals that hamper me.

  19. You said it. To write is to earn a PhD in patience!

  20. I agree with your method. I think DISTRACTION is the best way to deal. It's like when you REALLY want the time to go faster, but you end up staring at the clock. That, of course, only makes time go molasses-slow. So distraction is key!

  21. You're so right - this industry is not speedy - and waiting is hard! I try to just focus on the next thing I want to do. :)

  22. There are such long periods of waiting that authors have to have some degree of patience, otherwise they'll never make it. Although working on a new project is a wonderful distraction.

  23. Keep busy and keep writing is good advice to share whether you are waiting out the first book process, the fifth or the tenth. It's the idle time that makes the process drag on.


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