Taking the Time

June 23, 2011 1 Comments

 I am starting a new feature series, Writing Life, to share my reflections about the challenges faced by writers, journalists, and poets, as well as their changing role in society. First up is a repost of a blog entry I wrote long time ago.

When you look up from your desk, you see the clock taunting you. When you go for a coffee break, you hear the inevitable tick tock. Wherever you go, it’s there. You can’t run away from it.

That’s how I feel right now. My patience is getting thin with waiting for grades to come out, waiting for submission results, waiting for opportunities. Waiting. Digging in my email inbox every day, hoping for good news.

Perhaps I shouldn’t be so uptight. After all, waiting is just a part of the process, like writing and research.

Artists can’t hurry when they create. I know I have often spoken against procrastination and writer’s block, but there are times when you simply need to wait. You can write anytime, of course, but if you want to write something good, something inspiring, you may need to wait and observe.

The same goes for editing. So many people rush through that process, myself included. We think that when we write “the end” we are finished. But that is far from true. Editing isn’t just about polishing or fixing grammar, it’s about reorganizing, refining, making sense of what you wrote, taking a piece of art to the new level.

And, the same also goes for submissions. Rushing off your story or poem as soon as it is ready to a publisher might be compared to trying to find your way in the dark. You can hit gold the first time, yes, but it is also very likely that you end up submitting to a publisher that does not match your chosen genre or style. Then you would have wasted both your own time, and the time of the editor. While submitting to many publishers increases your chance of publication, one acceptance is better than ten rejections.

I must learn to keep my own advice in mind as I wait. Meanwhile, any advice and stories to share about waiting? Can you wait patiently, or do you glance at the clock and count the days on the calendar?

1 Comment

  1. Reply

    Dr Stuart Jeanne Bramhall

    June 28, 2011

    At 63, I certainly wouldn’t be considered a generation Z author – even though generation Z is my preferred topic to write about. Even at my advanced age, I can strongly identify with your advice about waiting and editing and particularly not rushing any phase of the writing process.

    I have just published (with a lot of trepidation) my first young adult novel about a 16 year old girl who gets busted for participating in a blockade and occupation of the US Capitol. I was very ambivalent about the project – even though I am a child and adolescent psychiatrist and have worked with teenagers for 32+ years. The title is THE BATTLE FOR TOMORROW: A FABLE (www.thebattlefortomorrow.com). I am looking for people to review it (on Amazon). Anyone who is interested can contact me through my website, and I can send you a coupon to download the ebook at Smashwords.