Patience is probably one the virtues I wish I was better at. Writing is a slow process THAT TAKES FOREVER AND WHY CAN’T I HAVE MY BOOK NOW?
Depending on how fast you write, finishing the first draft of a single short story can take a month or more, and if you start working on a longer piece… that can drag on for years (just don’t be one of those people who is ‘working on a novel’ without ever writing a word, okay? Get it on paper.). You finally get the story done and stare at your lovely, little word blob and then it just magically becomes a book instantly. That’s a new mac attachment clearly, the iPublishnow.
Truth: ALL OF THAT WRITING ISN’T EVEN THE HALF OF IT.
After you finish that first steaming draft full of problems and trouble THEN you have to go back and edit, and sometimes rewrite it. And you do this step over and over and over. Until your eyes sizzle and coffee drizzles from your nose.
After that, you submit it off into the wild blue-green yonder where it either a) goes off to an agent to look for representation b) goes to a publisher (and probably the BUMBUMBUM slush pile) or c) self-pub baby!
(okay, those are not every option ever available for a writer, but let’s just stick with those three for simplicity’s sake, kay?)
From here, everything requires more steps.
AKA No don’t just type THE END and throw it up on Amazon and wait for the money to rain down from the muses that live above your bed.
From here it will try to find a home, contracts will be negotiated, drawn up, yadda yadda, THEN it will go through a series of edits, a title will be decided, descriptions created, covers made, and formatting fought with. Annnnd probably more that I’m forgetting or just plain don’t know about because they haven’t happened to me yet.
End of story: There’s still a TON of steps from after you type the end to when you hold your precious word vomit baby in your arms and coo over it.
The fastest one has gone for me is a short story that took roughly 6 months from THE END to print version, and that was damn fast because it only had four people in the anthology.
Well, let’s just say there are some 3+ year projects that haven’t moved forward past typing THE END yet.
That’s another part of writing you don’t learn about until you’re there. Projects can and will just freeze for unknown reasons. Sometimes a project falls through the little literary cracks and plops into a whole lot of nope. When that happens you’ve got to pull your story out of that muck and try to find your baby a new home. Sometimes it doesn’t work out and that little sucker lives in a drawer in your desk for forever.
The point is, if you’re going to play the game and get your thing out into the world then you’ve got to have a certain level of patience and know that things move SLLLOOOOWWWW when it comes to publishing.
Finish your projects, send them off, meet your deadlines (please don’t be the jerk to hold up everyone else), and then START ON A NEW PROJECT. Don’t sit and stare at the screen, waiting for an email of every step of the process, let go of that sent-off darling and start vomiting out a new lovely, word baby. Try to have projects out and about all the time, and remember to just breathe and keep writing: that’s your job.