Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Waiting Game

*Fingers drumming*
*Heavy sighing*
*Refreshing email*
*Refreshing Twitter*
*Doing laundry*
*Rearranging kitchen cabinets*
*Washing the dog*
*Washing the cat*
*Applying band-aids to forearms*
*Folding laundry*
*Fixing sprinkler system*

This is the part of writing that is actually known as waiting. It is often the most important part. One thing that writers never talk about is that you hurry, write obsessively, stay up late to get the story finished and then triumphantly submit it to your agent/editor/crit partners. And then you wait.

While you wait, you usually don't work on anything. Whatever you do, don't go over the manuscript in question, because you will find things you want to change, and nothing screams newbie louder than re-submitting a book you already submitted because you thought about it for awhile and now it's better.

If your book is part of a series, don't work on the second book because the first one might be crap. If you know the waiting is going to be awhile, then you can try to work on something completely different, just know that when you get the original manuscript back, your characters might be pissed off at you because you cheated on them with another book. It is often best to busy yourself with things from the above list and learn the zen art of patience.

This week, I went to visit a high school creative writing class and a fourth grade class. The funny thing is that both groups asked a lot of great questions, and a lot of them were the same. One that came up was if I listen to music when I write. The answer is no. I need it completely quiet when I write, or I get distracted from the movie in my head. I do listen to music when I'm getting in the mood to write though, and I thought it would be fun to show you a couple of the songs that I listened to over and over again while I was writing this last book.

On this date: In 1805, Hans Christian Anderson was born.


Lisa Green said...

AAARRGH I hate waiting. But I also know its normal and necessary and YES you should keep writing something new. You aren't cheating and it's better than fixing the sprinkler system. Well, maybe not for your lawn.

amy goldman koss said...

WAITING is very fattening.

cynjay said...

V. true!
I get so involved in one world that I find it hard to switch to another one. I'm actually missing my characters right now!

SWK said...

I so agree with you. It is very hard to wait...and to leave behind familiar characters (and that sense that maybe you could have said one more thing--or made something clearer). I have an ms on submission now and am trying hard to stick with my new story and not look back. Nice not to feel so lonely in my effort. Delighted to have discovered your blog and look forward to following!

Julie_c said...

I ABSOLUTELY write and work on illos while I'm waiting. I have to put my mind on something else completely. For example, while waiting on the editors to give thumbs up or thumbs down on the graphic novel, I'm working on illos for the two PB projects and fleshing out a new graphic novel. I must be busy, busy, busy at all times because if Project A turns out to be a no-go, I need to know I'm well into Project B, C & D.

But know that I'm here, waiting, with you. :)