Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Patience: The Virtue I Lack

This is such the wrong profession for a person who isn't patient. You write a story, you submit it, and you wait. You get revisions, you resubmit, you wait. You do edits, you submit, you wait. There's more waiting in the writing world than anywhere else, I think. That's why most writers recommend that after you send out a project, you get right to work on another one. Because if you wait to hear back before writing again, you'll never get your work out there.

Right now, I'm waiting on one publisher to yea/nay a project. I turned it in but the Internet gobbled it up, so I had to resend it. So this wait is actually legitimate, to my way of thinking. Not the publisher's fault, and at least they had the courtesy to let authors know there was a problem. Kudos to them for that, as well as to their unusually quick turn-around time.

Another project is sitting with a publisher, with a wait time on a query (the letter that briefly describes the project at hand and a brief summary of the writer's qualifications), not the whole submission, but the query, mind you, to see if they are even interested, of 3 months. Then there will be more wait time if they are interested in the whole submission.

I'm also waiting on pins and needles on another project. The publisher has expressed interest, but they're having Internet problems. (This $#@!! Net!) So I think they want to offer a contract, but it's been weeks and I still haven't gotten what I need to cement a new publishing relationship. I even have all my other paperwork filled out. Yeah, lots of author info, payment stuff, etc that goes along with the contract. And I'm waiting...

Then there's the editor who takes a long time to get back to me on projects. Now, to me, anything longer than five minutes is a long time. But this editor used to get back to me within weeks, and now it's taking months to hear back on projects, which in turn puts my work out way later, since I'm behind other authors on the schedule.

And heck, if you submit to the New York publishing houses, most wait times range from four months to a year to hear back on a yes or no to send the whole manuscript! You're easily looking at a few years between submission to acceptance to publication. (Which is why I'm a huge electronic market proponent, because it doesn't take nearly as long to get published.)

Again, to the normal person, waiting is not usually a big deal. But I'm a "RIGHT NOW" kind of gal. In the military, it was, "Do it now. Get results, report back." Here, in the civilian/writing world, I have to readjust my way of thinking to, "Let it be and check back, again and again and again."

Talk about torture for an uptight writer! Then again, sometimes waiting is better than an immediate rejection. It allows for a period of hope, a positive feeling I need to keep up with the many rejections I've been given over the years. (Hell, who can account for bad taste? :)

So if anyone out there is seriously considering writing for a living, you need to not only have a thick skin and the tenacity of a bulldog, but you need patience. Lots and lots of patience. Sigh. I'm still waiting.

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