Impatience is a form of resistance

Sometimes, I look fondly back on my early days as an author, when the whole job was simply writing books, and the wheels moved very slowly indeed.

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The act of writing was slower because, in the days of typewriters, even a minor change such as choosing a different name for a character could be a long-winded redrafting task, searching through reams of paper armed with a tippex brush.

When the manuscript was finally finished and neatly packaged up, it made its leisurely way to the agent or publisher via the Royal Mail, and some weeks later, their response would eventually come back.

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In those days, I was blissfully unaware of sales figures and marketing, publicity and self-promotion, and I certainly didn’t have anything at all to do with the publishing process.

In many ways, being an author twenty years ago was far less stressful, but there are lots of things I love about being an author now:

  • Word processing has made every stage of writing much easier and quicker. It means I can make manuscripts that look brilliant and are a pleasure to work on from the earliest outline to the final draft.
  • The internet means I can have frequent contact with readers who follow my blogs or read my books. Their feedback and ideas are both encouraging and inspiring to me.
  • Self-publishing means I don’t have to have unsold manuscripts languishing on my shelves, out of print books consigned to obscurity or projects I want to work on having to be abandoned because they’re unlikely to find a mainstream publisher.

The only problem is that, while I positively enjoy all the opportunities this new way of being an author presents, there’s an awful lot on my to-do list, and if I have to take unexpected time out because of illness, as has happened recently, things can quickly get out of hand.

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On my to-do list right now, I’ve got:

  • redraft my YA novel Drift from editor’s suggestions
  • ditto my next adult non-fiction When a Writer Isn’t Writing
  • write design and cover brief for Drift and When a Writer for designer
  • redraft my iPhone and iPad app Get Writing! following testers’ suggestions
  • plan my workshop for the home educated group
  • write my commissioned article for The Author
  • pitch further mag articles in time for the September launches of Drift and When a Writer
  • write blog articles for writinginthehouseofdreams and girlsheartbooks
  • write my guest blog article for Val Andrews’ Art For Happiness blog
  • write the new children’s fantasy novel that I’ve had in outline since New Year

All those years ago when I started out, and everything seemed so slow, I had a postit on my study wall to remind me, ‘Impatience is a form of resistance.’

When  writing my new book can’t seem to get off the bottom of the list, I still have to remind myself of that today.

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11 thoughts on “Impatience is a form of resistance”

  1. At the bottom of this post was a ref to your Sept 2014 entry re long to do lists: ‘What you need to do is pray’ said your son in a dream. Could help? See what you could just cross off that list for now perhaps. And here I am not doing my ‘to dos’…..

    1. I forgot I’d blogged about my to-do list before, Tessa! The problem now is that I’m working with other people’s schedules – the designer is booked to do the work on these two books in the second half of May, the app developer was expecting the app to be finished weeks ago, I have a regular day on the team at girlsheartbooks etc. Prayer is good – and so is humour – thanks for reminding me!

  2. When I bought my first personal computer in March of 2000, a friend asked if it made writing any easier. I told him it made the mechanics of it easier; the act of creating a story and its characters was still challenging.

  3. Jenny, I am suffering from the same kind of impatience. So many projects I was forced to shelve over the years because of “the market” now seem possible again, and my excitement for them has returned. I have discovered 24 partly written novels that almost-but-not-quite got a publishing deal at the time, and several series proposals simmering away in my files… but which to tackle first? That’s before all the shiny new ideas that come thick and fast at this time of year and demand I write them RIGHT NOW… meanwhile, I have a report to write for the RLF and a few last students to see before the end of my Fellowship year. The report is proving easier than the fiction, but maybe that’s because I have a deadline and someone waiting to read it? (Strange how writing needs readers before it feels worthwhile…)

    1. Excitement – yes, that’s it! I guess you’d need to have been twenty years in this business like we have, and amassed a fair few close calls and out of print books, to really understand how incredible these new opportunities feel. I mean, so much passion and graft goes into writing a book, there’s real heartbreak when one either never sees the light of day, or gets abandoned after a year or two.

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