Dramaquill's All Things Writing

November 24, 2009

Writers need patience: developing strategies

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If you ask my friends and family most of them would say that I struggle with having enough patience…and I’d have to agree.  At least when it comes to the mundane tasks of every day life. 

I absolutely hate when I’m trying to write something down quickly and the pen runs out of ink.  I always seem to drop something when my arms are too full to bend down and retrieve it.  Even standing in line always seems to happen when I’m in my worst rush.

So why, as a writer, have I developed so much patience?

It’s really quite simple.  The publishing biz tends to move quite slowly and there’s really nothing you can do about that, other than develop some strategies to keep things moving forward.

Imagine submitting work to magazines whose open themed issues start at 2014?  I remember subbing two pieces to Hopscotch for Girls magazine way back in 2005 and getting acceptances for June and December 2009.  Yep – 4 years later. 

A writing friend from my critique group received a contract for her mid grade novel from a small publisher, only to find that it took nearly two years before she finally had the paperback version in her hands.

If you’re writing something pertaining to a particular holiday or special time of year, most publications require that you submit your work at least six months prior to the issue in which the piece might appear.

So what’s a writer to do?

Definitely develop patience.  You can’t make it in this business without realizing that the wheels do move rather slowly.

But you can also develop some great strategies to keep everything moving forward.  Here are some things I do while I wait:

1.    Once you’ve sent a query, forget about it.  It’s out of your hands.  Move
       on to something else.

2.   If you have your manuscript out to an editor or agent for consideration,
      work on a different project so that you’ll have it ready to submit.

3.   If guidelines indicate that the publication accepts simultaneous subs,
      feel free to send out multiple queries at once.  With more irons in the
      fire, you’ll have more chances at acceptance.

4.  Revise work that has been rejected while new works are out for
      consideration.

5.   Never stop writing.  (To me, this is key.) 

Many freelancers suggest keeping a dozen subs out there at any one time.  That’s great advice.  Don’t put everything in one piece and wait for word before trying something else or subbing somewhere else.

Writers definitely need a large dose of patience but by developing your own strategies to keep yourself motivated and accomplishing something with your writing, the waiting just becomes part of the everyday writer’s life.

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