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The Waiting Place

The boys read “Oh The Places You’ll Go,” to me last night. Man, do I love that book!

You can get so confused that you’ll start in to race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space,
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place…

I’ve never read a more accurate description of being a writer: racing through drafts, wiggling through edits, grinding through revisions, all headed for… the waiting place.

I hate the waiting place. It’s actually the only thing I hate about writing. Perhaps because of that, I hate it with a surprising depth of passion.

The process of getting published is pretty straightforward:

  1. Write a novel (crazy fun at a break-necking pace)
  2. Edit and improve the novel (grinding, but still fun)
  3. Workshop the novel (always fun, except when it isn’t)
  4. Submit novel to publisher
  5. The Waiting Place
  6. Either publish novel or return to an earlier step

I hadn’t fully understood The Waiting Place when I started writing, didn’t know how to deal with it when I got stuck there. Now, after talking to other writers, I’ve realized that I have to ignore it. Yes, I may be in The Waiting Place on one project, but that doesn’t mean others can’t go forward.

A writer should never tarry in The Waiting Place.

Project X stuck waiting? Ignore it and move on to Project Y. If that one gets stuck in The Waiting Place, move on to another project. In short, don’t wait in The Waiting Place. Once you recognize it (which is not always an easy thing to do), move out. Move forward. Just keep moving. Don’t let it drag you down.

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Posted July 24, 2013 in Writing