Well, now that the 30 Day Poetry Challenge is over, I suppose I can go back to writing “normal” blogs here. (But check out some of the poems I wrote, guys! I wrote 30 poems in 30 days!)
It’s been a little over a month since I quit my day job to become a full-time freelance writer. (I was also going to teach, but I decided to just focus on writing for now.) I have spent the last month writing web content and blog posts, editing novels for other writers, working on ghostwriting projects, and basically hustling every day. I pretty much stalk websites that list writing gigs and writing jobs, and every time I get a text from Thumbtack saying someone needs an editor or writer, I’m on the site within the next two seconds scoping it out.
It’s a little unstable, and I don’t always know where my next paycheck is coming from, but somehow it all works out. Or at least, it has so far.
Then there is my debut young adult novel, The Muses. I haven’t had a literary agent for that long, and the whole process of getting publishers to read debut fiction can be long and tedious. Sometimes, though, it feels like I have been “working on” this project for so long simply because I started writing it almost two years ago.
So why is it so hard for me to have patience with my novel but not with my freelance work? We live in such a world of instant gratification. If we want a book or a song or a movie, we can go online and read it, listen to it, or watch it with the click of a button. If we want any information about anything, all we have to do is type it into a search engine and we can find out whatever we want to know within a matter of seconds. How often do we just go exploring without the help of our smartphones or tablets?
I see this attitude in a lot of writers, too. Self-publishing and blogs provide us with a way to put our writing out there in no time. As an editor, I see clients who are in a “rush” to get their book up on Amazon without taking the necessary time to revise and rework things that need to be reworked.
Anything worth doing takes time. This is a hard lesson for me to remember, especially when it feels like I’ve already been waiting so long. Even though I’ve only been working on this specific novel since 2012, I’ve been working on my writing for 20 years. “Getting a book deal” is so much more to me than this one novel. It’s also for the plays I wrote in 1st grade that I made the neighbors perform in the driveway or for the notebooks and notebooks stashed in my closet or for the Anne Rice knock-off novella I wrote in high school when I was going through my emo vampire phase or for the plays I wrote in undergrad or the short film I wrote and spent all summer in 2008 helping to produce…or so many countless other things I have written.
If you are in the same boat as I am–finding it difficult to be patient–there are many ways that you can combat the situation. One of the best ways I know to deal with it is to work on other things. Doing the 30 day poetry challenge was really fun for me–not just because it got me back into poetry, but because it gave me something else to focus on.
So let’s hope I can take my own advice here and learn how to be patient. And if not, maybe I’ll just go binge watch Arrested Development until I get a book deal.