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flower

A three-course blog meal

Appetizer

Just last week I was exploring the idea of male and female voice in writing. So I was quite interested in this thought-provoking post from Janni Simner about boys, girls, and reading.


Main Course

Today's topic is patience.

Writers are often asked what it takes to be a writer. We have loads of answers. It takes a love of language. It takes persistence, commitment, observational skills, etc., etc. I don't know how often we mention that it also takes patience.

It takes patience to rewrite a scene forty times, trying to get it right.
It takes patience to reread a manuscript fifty times, making sure it holds together.
It takes patience to put aside a manuscript when you hit a brick wall, and wait for that mental shift that will solve the problem. It takes patience to accept that the manuscript may have to sit for years while you work on something else.
It takes patience to write background and character sketches and other things that you know will never end up in the finished manuscript, because you need to work through these things to get to the story.
It takes patience to do research.
It takes patience to wait for answers to your queries/manuscripts.
It takes patience to put aside a rejection letter and send out a new submission.
It takes patience to wait for the acceptance letter/contract/advance check/royalty statement to arrive in the mail.
It takes patience to wait for the next milestone, whether it's the cover, the first-pass pages, the book launch, the paperback edition, the foreign edition, the sequel, or the award announcement.
It takes patience to accept that there will always be something new to wait for.

Am I venturing too far if I say that every writer is waiting for something? Pull up a chair and enjoy the sunset in the meantime.


Dessert

And while we're waiting, let's amuse ourselves with Sarah Rees Brennan's tales of pacifist sock monkeys and cereal fights.

Comments

It takes patience to write in piecemeal when life (Read "summer") gets in the way of long, uninterrupted sessions. It's take me half the summer to remember that, but I'm trying to get back in touch this week.

Thanks!
It takes a long time to write a book. For most of us, anyway!
I'm plenty patient on the writing side - 'til ya get to #s 6,7, & 8. Didn't take that route, but have no regrets. If I'd started on this freaky path (that's become such a passion) earlier in life, I might have taken a shot at it.
I have some friends who are thinking the same way--but the distribution aspect is daunting to them.
I'm fortunate that I live in a tourist town & the book is carried by several local high-traffic shops & bookstores. Was doing well on Amazon early on - but that's fallen off since they jacked the price up. I'm looking into what would it take to sell at a reduced rate from my own site - especially when the sequel comes out. Schools have been really good for me (they get 60 day terms - stores 30 day - no returns). So far it's been pretty good - could be better if I worked harder at it but I have this daytime career that constantly interferes (& the beach). I'll be 53 next week. I write fiction for kids - geared more for boys in my opinion - which is not a great commercial market. I also had no previous pub credits. Time & background wasn't on my side (wish I had started sooner). The route that I chose made sense for me but I wouldn't get preachy one way or the other with anyone weighing their options. I will say that anyone considering the POD route needs to do their homework. Lots of scammers & upsellers to be avoided. For me - so far so good.
You nailed it. And some days I am blessed with much patience and other days, well, not so much.
Few people are born with enough patience for this field. We have to cultivate it!

Patience

I spend about 90% of my time on my editing, and have also thrown away five completed (and edited) books.

No, that's not quite true. I lost one of them.

Oh well. They were just for practice ;)

I do notice that my new books are getting shorter and shorter. . . 200,000 words. . . 120,000. . . 40,000 (for kids). . . 7000 (for younger kids).

Right now I'm writing a twitter "novel" of around 2500 words. It's got pirates. I LIKE pirates.

Follow me for fun and piracy
http://twitter.com/Louise_Curtis_

Re: Patience

YA novels are getting longer, while picture books have been getting shorter. I have no idea what that means.
Oh, so true!

I think I need a comfier chair...
p.s. still getting the hang of this open ID thing. I'm Other Lisa.
A comfy chair almost always helps.

Congratulations on your book!!
I did finally spring for a nice Levenger lap desk!

And congratulations to you as well! Can't wait to read your book!

Other Lisa