The important writing skill that I was unprepared for.

So it’s been a while since I flung a blog post out into the void of the interwebz, but I’ve been thinking a lot lately about a factor in traditional publishing I wasn’t truly prepared for, and I’m still learning to properly cultivate.

In traditional publishing, people often talk about perseverance. Writing draft upon draft, getting beta reads, then revising can be exhausting. Querying trenches are grueling. The rollercoaster of impostor syndrome is draining. And picking yourself up to write another book is the hardest part, sometimes. Perseverance is certainly incredibly important as a writer. Sometimes, that tenacity is the only thread to keep you going through the rough patches.

But the one thing I have had to learn above all else?

Patience.

It’s crucial in those moments that aren’t about pushing through disappointment, but just… waiting. And waiting. And waiting.

Your first taste of The Waiting can come during your first beta round. You’ve yeeted your book off to beta readers and critique partners, then you sit around and fret. Is it good? How long will it take for them to send feedback? (Protip: set a deadline. A reasonable one, but a deadline). Then you get their notes, you cry and flounce a little (maybe), then you persevere and revise.

After an indeterminate and variable number of beta rounds, it’s off to the query trenches. Aaaaannnddd more waiting. Round after round of agents, sometimes for years.

Maybe eventually, your book is in the right place at the right time, and you find an agent! Yay! But they might want to do more edits, and you’re stuck waiting some more as they read and make notes.

Once you and the agent decide the book is ready, it will go on submission to editors. Which… guess what? Another wait. This one can be a long one. As long as–or more than–querying. Months at a time. Stretching past a year, sometimes.

Then once more, if all goes well, you get an offer! Hooray! Time to party! Although hold up, there’s the contract negotiation process in which you will nearly explode holding in the secret. More weeks, maybe months.

Then another round of edits. Depending on the editor, this wait will be much shorter, but you will still have some time spent in a lull on that specific project.

Then the final wait. The time between delivering the final manuscript and your publication day. There will be other steps between (publicity, checking copyedits and pass pages, networking with booksellers) but those will be stop-and-go, increasing in frequency until release day.

There are so, so many waits.

Which, if you’re like me, is why it is so important to have another project. Find something else to focus on, if you can. It helps. Other than having something else to stay busy, I don’t have a lot of advice, just a warning. Cultivate the ability to wait, sooner rather than later. In this industry, you’re going to need it. 😀

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