Writing & Waiting: A One-letter Difference

2 Apr

Last week I read a quote from Gloria Steinem: “I don’t like to write.  I like to have written.”

For me, truer words have not been spoken.  In addition to The Mirrors at Barnard Hall, I’m blessed to have three other manuscripts already written, waiting for a few revisions/additions before being handed to my editor. 

The problem is that I have been at the editing stage for such a long time that coming up with a fresh story—beyond chapter three—feels like a foreign concept.  This weekend I buckled down and pushed through a few more chapters in a fifth book.

Once again, I realized how incredibly tedious it is to actually write a novel.

For those of you who are beginning your own writing/publishing journeys, you need to be aware of the following:

-Just about every book requires some amount of research (“The devil is in the details”). 
– If outlining is part of your process, the degree of tedium correlates to the amount of detail you put into said organizational tool.  The more detail, the easier to write the copy—but this requires a larger investment “upfront.”
-If you’re old-school and use pen and paper to handwrite your manuscript, you’re going to be typing the first draft for what seems like YEARS.
-When you’re “finished” writing, prepare to spend an exorbitant amount of time chopping out and/or adding to what you’ve slaved over for months/weeks/years/decades in order to reach that “ideal” word count.
-Writing takes self-motivation and sacrifice (which ultimately leads to an increase in antisocial behavior).
-Every single step in the process takes time: writing the manuscript, letting the manuscript marinate, editing the story, writing the perfect query letter, querying agents, waiting for agents to reject your query, waiting for agents to accept your query and request additional chapters, waiting for rejections from additional chapters, waiting for a letter of acceptance, waiting on your editor, waiting on the cover art, waiting on the interior layout, waiting on the nerve to send the final copy to the printing press…

Is it a coincidence that there is only a one-letter difference between wRiting and wAiting?

My journey started a little over three years ago.  The Mirrors at Barnard Hall was my second manuscript.  It took six months of writing, one year of marinating, another three months of editing, a year of querying agents and a whole lot of waiting to get to this point.   However, when I finally hold that print copy in my hand, I know the journey will be worth repeating.

Happy waiting writing!

-Jenny

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