Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Douglas over at Adventures in Writing did an excellent post about being stressed and asked the following questions: Any of you feeling stressed to finish your latest WIP these days? How do you cope with it?

My response to those questions . . .

I no longer stress about finishing my WiPs!

Why? Well . . . the publishing industry is currently in chaos. The economy, while improving, is still in a bit of chaos. People just aren't buying books right now, agents are being a bit more picky, and the publishing industry as a whole seems to be taking a step back to consider things.

So, why should I rush? Why not grab hold of that elusive entity known as patience and take my time?

That's exactly what I have been doing. I still have the dream of being published. I will be published. I will hone my craft and create the best possible manuscript I can.

So, take a deep breath, and give your writing the thing it deserves the most - patience. You'll finish your WiP when you finish. There's no rush. Yes, there's the driving need in every writer to finish and get published. But . . . patience, patience, patience. The industry is in flux right now. Why not take advantage of this time of uncertainty to really, really make this WiP the best thing you ever did . . . by taking it slowly, one step at a time!

I think we all know that the publishing industry . . . well . . . it aint' what it used to be. The publishing industry is going through growing pains. There's a sense of uncertainty out there right now, especially with the massive (tsunami anyone??) move toward digital books.

For that very reason alone, I've adopted a more patient manner toward my writing, and my eventual publication. Oh, I will be published, you can place money on that one, dear readers, but perhaps in a more sedate time frame then I once imagined.

In no way am I giving up the writing dream. I'll write! It's part of who I am!!!

I'll also take a few deep breaths, and continue to refine the stuff I've already written. I'll take the distance (see yesterday's post) I need so that what I'm writing is the best possible stuff . . . EV-AH!!!!

How about you? Are you still in a hurry toward publication? Can you think of nothing else? Do you hurry through projects thinking this is it, the faster I finish, the faster I'll be published? Is this a good/bad attitude to have? Should we all take the time to enjoy the flux/chaos of the publishing industry to adopt a more patient manner, while at the same time never giving up our publication dream? Should we count this flux/chaos as a blessing, a chance to take the time to truly live up to our writing potential, rather than put something out there that's just not . . . brilliant??

Yes, I know, a lot of questions, but that's where my brain went with this post. In the end, our writing will define us in some small, perhaps grand, way. I'd rather the writing that defines me be just as brilliant as I can possibly make it!! How about you?



Marybeth Poppins said...

I have my days with patience. Some days I know that it will happen when the time comes. Other days I just want it all to happen now. I want all my books to be done and all my queries out there with tons of requests for fulls and and get the idea :)

Jody Hedlund said...

Excellent post and questions, Scott. I think you have the perfect attitude. If we keep on writing and improving and learning, theneventually we'll get to the point where we will finally be strong enough to garner interest from agents and editors. If we try to rush the process then we'll only be disappointed! We can't force things to grow, like a plant for example. It grows in it's own time. All we can do is nurture it and wait! (And enjoy each new bud and blossom!)

P.S. Thanks for stopping by my blog today! I'm glad we could connect!

Tess said...

Some days I am patient, but other days I obsess on that goal of a contract. It's like a bad burrito...just keeps coming back.

okay, that was a super lame attempt at humor. sorry.

Scott said...

Marybeth - perhaps patience comes with age . . . but I wouldn't know about that, now would I?? : ) The road to patience (hey, that might make a good novel title . . .) didn't happen overnight. It was a slow and arduous process.

Jody - thanks. See above - the attitude took a bit, but I'm enjoying life a bit more since I adopted the whole patience thing. And, you're welcome - but you should thank Marybeth since she linked me to your blog. She's clever like that when she takes a break from trying to beat my Bejeweled Blitz score.

Tess - there are days when all I want is the whole publishing thingy, but I force myself not to rush things. It's a hard task somedays, but I think it will be worth it in the end. It better be worth it in the end. Ha! : )

Robyn Campbell said...

I'm stressed. Okay? There I admitted it. I find it stressful that there aren't 34 hours in a day. That would work for me.

I don't want to rush but haven't you ever wondered about these folks that whip out a novel in three months. By the fourth month they have an agent and month 5? Yep. A publishing deal.

Have you ever thought about how they do this? And it's their FIRST thing they've ever written. Where's the JUSTICE?

So I have been trying to s l o w down and have patience and really write from the heart.

Great post my friend. How is it you are coming up with these great posts? Hmmm, are you having a headache? Bwa ha ha ha I love that laugh.

Scott said...

Robyn - I'm headache free thanks to my nifty tinfoil hat! It works wonders and makes quite the fashion statement!!

I think the first time, wrote the book in 3 months, writers are pretty few and far between. For the most part, writers write for years before they snag an agent and publishing deal.

Often, the first book is a fluke and the second book . . . well, sophmore attempts at many things aren't always as successful as the freshman debut!

And, I think that all goes back to patience! If a writer has a great debut, isn't there pressure to come out with a second book somewhat quickly? If there is that rush, then perhaps that explains some of the lackluster second books.

Then again, what do I know? Oh, wait, I know a lot because I'm always right and you're not! Ha!!!!

ElanaJ said...

I think there's a sense of urgency, especially in YA lit because of "trends" that are hot right now. And if you (meaning, I) have a book that fits that trend, I want to get it out there as fast as I can. Does that make sense? But I never rush to send out submissions on a book I know isn't ready. But hey, when do I know it's ready? That's the hard part.

Anonymous said...

I think patience is important in all phases of writing and submitting. That doesn't mean you shouldn't push yourself. However, no matter what the climate of the publishing world you want to make sure you put the very best work you can out there. And, I agree with Elana, sometimes it's hard to know when it's ready.

Scott said...

Elana - I agree with you about the sense of urgency for YA writers. Since I don't write YA, well, no such urgency. And, as patient as I am, I have my moments of wanting everything NOW! And, rushing is never a good thing. I think that's what makes some writers stumble - they rush and put forth an incomplete manuscript and then wonder at the rejection. : )

Paul - I agree totally, patience definitely doesn't mean don't push yourself. I strive to write the best I can every time I sit down at the computer. Somtimes, I even strive to write better than I can.

As for knowing when it's ready, I think that varies depending on the person. In the end, I don't think a writer will ever think their project is ready, and, even after publication, will see things they could have changed and/or done differently. : )


Davin Malasarn said...

I'm in a hurry. I'm not sure if it's for publication exactly, but I feel like I'm racing for the sense of completion. I feel way too serious when I say stuff like this, but I feel like I'm racing against death. I want to get as good as I can before I die, or before I lose the ability to read my own work.

Scott said...

Davin - if we hurry too fast through life, we're not really living. We have to take the time to slow down, ease the hurried pace, and take notice of the world around us. Icarus wanted to fly, but instead he crashed and burned. He wanted his dream so bad, he didn't think about the consequences. He, in effect, burned out.

I think if we rush, rush, rush all the time, then we will burn out. Our relationships will suffer, and, our writing as well.

So, my advice to you - don't fly too high, don't race to far, don't worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow might not come. Worry about today, here and now, and take a moment to breathe!