Monday, August 9, 2010

Waiting is the hardest part

I know what you're thinking. This post is about waiting to hear back from agents, waiting to hear back from editors, waiting for your publication date.

But you're wrong.

This post is about the waiting that comes before that. The hardest waiting, I think.

Waiting to be a good enough writer that you can send your work out.

I remember when I was just going into junior high I went to summer camp for the last time. Several of the girls I made friends with were older than me, and they would all troop off to the showers as a group to shave their legs. So of course the first thing I did when I got home was demand (fine, ASK, I was a polite kid) that my mom take me to the store to get some razors because I needed to start shaving my legs. NEEDED. To which my mom said, "You have to wait six months, and if you still want to start shaving I will let you."

That was a looooooooooong six months. And each week I checked my legs, hairless as they were, and longed for a single or maybe even a double blade so I could join the club. Once my probationary period was over my mom took me to the store and got me my first razor. I started shaving that night, although I'm positive that it was nothing more than peach fuzz. But I was proud of myself; I was a big girl now.

That's how I feel about writing right now. I so desperately want to be a big girl, especially when there are all these shiny tempting contests going on around the blogosphere (ZOMG, have you SEEN the WriteOnCon contest?). But I'm not ready, and neither is my manuscript. I know this, I KNOW, but the waiting is so hard. I'm totally the person who will pull the brownie pan out ten minutes too early because it smells so friggin good. And it's alright until I get to the middle where it's half-baked and gooey and kind of nauseating. I mean, I'm all for brownie batter, but not some Frankenbrownie that can't decide if it wasn't to be goo or mush.

So that's where I'm at. Waiting for my manuscript to get to the point that I can smile proudly and hold it up in public maybe like the Ten Commandments and proclaim it THE GREATEST WORK EVER CREATED (BY ME). It's hard and frustrating and totally based on my own development. Which is sometimes the hardest part.

Where are you in your development? What are your hopes for your future writing?


Stina Lindenblatt said...

I can relate. I'm heavy into edits after receiving some brilliant feedback from one friend, and after Ellen Hopkins (LA SCBWI conference) told me to rewrite my novel in present tense. I can't participate in the WriteOnCon fun like some individuals. On the other hand. Now I don't have to worry about the querying process for awhile longer. :D

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Ack. I'm in a messy, confusing place. I have one manuscript that has been revised 4 times and is looking pretty good (I think) and two first drafts with the same characters that need revision to catch up with the revisions I made on the first one. PLUS, a WIP that is STUCK about 2/3 of the way through.

My oldest daughter used to holler "STUCK!" when she was crawling, and I would show up and extricate her from whatever chair she'd wedged herself under. I wish someone bigger would come along and rescue my WIP!

laurel said...

"Frankenbrownie"! Love it!

It is so hard to be patient with ourselves. You're absolutely right to wait until you feel happy with the quality of your work. Sometimes it feels like the opportunities that come up right now are once-in-a-lifetime. But usually those are once-a-season opportunities that cycle around again. Hang in there!!

Solvang Sherrie said...

Congrats on recognizing that you aren't ready. Plenty of us weren't that wise and wish we could redact so you're already one step ahead!

Melissa Gill said...

That sounds like a really good plan. So many people send out writing that's not even near ready to be seen by an agent or publisher. Good for you for taking your time.

Christina Lee said...

I soooooo. sooooo hear you (and wish I was this smart with my first "hidden" manuscript).

Tere Kirkland said...

That waiting is the hardest for me, too. Having betas I trust helps, though.

Great post!

Lydia Kang said...

Hey! Great minds think alike!
I know this feeling--it's a familiar one I've held quite often. Things can't happen fast enough! But we must make sure that our work is the best it can be. And that takes time. And that's sooooooo hard!

Lola Sharp said...

Frankenbrownie!!! *swoon* I think I just fell in love with you...again.

And, believe me, I relate.