Tuesday, July 3, 2012

What Writer’s Do with Their Time

Part of the immense fun of being a writer is the super exhilarating…


That’s right. Much of a writer’s life is spent in a waiting flux.

Some people may think that sounds like a huge boring snooze-fest…but not the writer – NO! NO! – this waiting is just part of the fun.  

[NOTE: If you’ve been a writer for a while, this post will confirm that you’re not crazy and if you’re working on your first manuscript…refer to this post when your hair starts to fall out.]

Wait number one: When we’re drafting a manuscript, life is at an all-time-high. Our ideas fly with beautiful brilliance from our fingertips and fill the once pristine pages with stories we believe will surely find a home on every bookshelf. We can’t wait to share our masterpiece with the world. [If you’re a newbie scribe, please wait. I’m begging you. Wait and read on.]

Wait number two: Once the first draft is complete, there is a wait before we edit. Why? Because the longer we’re away from our masterpiece, the more realistic vision we’ll have when we return. During this wait, most writers begin another masterpiece. Repeat Wait number one.

Wait number three: It’s time to edit, it’s been a few weeks and we just know when we open our manuscript the eloquent prose that we loved so dearly will need little to no revisions. Unfortunately, that is rarely true. Nope, once we remove those rose-colored drafting goggles and gaze at the excess drivel we thought was so fantastic before, we realize eighty-percent of it is complete sludge, not fit for even the most gracious of critique partners. We would die if anyone read this crap!

Wait number four: Finish the first, second, third, fourth and fifth rounds of revisions it takes to cement all that brilliance into cohesive sentences so that anyone, not suffering from dementia, might understand our plot.

Wait number five: Finally, we can send the manuscript to our most-precious couldn’t-live-without-them critique partners. We’ve waited months to get here and we hit send with such great satisfaction…only to realize seconds later that we are once again in a do-nothing holding pattern. 

Wait number six: Repeat Wait numbers one through five on new masterpiece until critique(s) are ready.

Wait number seven: This wait is particularly fragile. It can either propel us forward with the speed of light or send us to the liquor store in our pajamas. Most of us fall somewhere in the middle, our manuscripts come back with encouraging words…but also pages and pages of bright red markings. THIS IS GOOD! Our critique partners were never wearing our rose-color drafting goggles and can see much more clearly. Thank them!

Wait number nine: [YES, I skipped Wait number eight because so did you when you left your manuscript on your desktop unopened for three weeks after glancing at the amount of edits needed.] Good revisions. This step is VERY important. When we’re ready to face our demons and take a good look at what our skillful partners-in-lunacy have told us. This is where we turn our slop into a masterpiece. FINISH POLISHING! 

Wait number ten: Send revised masterpiece back to critique partners for the thumbs up to query. If we get a yes-it’s-time-to-send-it, we move on to Wait number eleven. If we get a needs-a-little-more-work, we repeat Wait number nine before passing GO.

Wait number eleven: Query. [The query in itself is its own masterpiece and requires Wait numbers one through ten.] Once our query is given the green light, we send it out [click here to read What to Expect When You’re Expecting a Response to Your Query].

Wait number twelve: Submitting our babies is just that. We send our little ones out into the big bad world and pray they will be received with love and appreciation. And this can take months, but never fear…this is where the real wait, the hopeful- narcissistic-wait [the best wait of all] comes in. Now is the time to get comfortable and settle in for what will surely haunt us for the rest of our lives…because this is only the beginning of the writer’s wait.

To Be Continued...