Monday, March 28, 2011

Impatience? Not Again!

I’m in the middle of doing some major revising of my book Sacred Fire. I’ve finished 100 out of 300 pages. I keep thinking to myself, “I could start sending this to beta readers. They could work on the beginning while I continue revising the rest.”

It’s not that this wouldn’t work, although it would be a lot of unnecessary trouble. The problem I’m sensing is impatience.

I learned a lesson on impatience when I queried my book long before it was ready. When I decided to let the process take as long as it needed to, I was overwhelmed by this Zen feeling, like I was meditating in a Buddhist monastery and I knew everything is as it should be. Me, conquer impatience? Yeah!

Now it’s happening again. When I think about my book, my breath gets shorter. My fingers twitch to the keyboard and I have to keep them from sending mass emails to as many beta readers as I can coerce into working with me.

I close my eyes and tell myself to chill. I remind myself of my timeframe:
  1. It will take me months to finish revising with my new beta readers
  2. it will take months or even a year to find an agent
  3. my book would be on submission to editors for months and even a year (or more, heaven forbid)
  4. if editors don’t take it, I might have to find a new agent to try submitting it to editors again (which is surprisingly common)
  5. when a publisher accepts a book, it takes a year before it hits the shelves.
I expect this to take 2 years minimum, 4 ½ years maximum. This is all assuming my book will even be successful. I’m in this for the long haul. What’s the rush?

Yeah, that doesn’t help. My fingers are still twitching.

My only solution is to set deadlines past the time I want to act and practice the discipline not to jump ahead. 

Does anyone else have this problem? Any ideas on how to solve it?

3 comments:

  1. I completely know how you're feeling! I'm feeling the same way. I'm rushing through writing new material during revisions, because I just want it to be there so I can get back to revising, and I am feeling desperate to get to the beta reader stage. And yet I shouldn't be too eager for that, because I don't doubt they'll have a lot to tell me ;)

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  2. I hate that feeling! Unfortunately, my cure is not great, even if it is effective: a strangling combination of perfectionism and insecurity, cemented by my chronic lack of writing time. The first two elements force me to make sure everything is absolutely PERFECT before letting anyone read my work (including my wife). The time restriction actually helps me to plan things out before I start writing (I can plan and make quick notes while I'm doing other stuff), which ultimately saves me time when I sit down to write. Even so, I can't recommend this method to anyone in good conscience. Sorry!

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  3. I go back and forth, actually. I do feel like that a lot. I'm currently revising an older WIP--well, blind rewriting, actually--and I want to start sending off chapters, but I know it's nowhere near ready yet. On the other hand, I sometimes send chapters to my sister-in-law, who's more like just a cheerleader in my court and not a tried-and-true beta reader. I think that helps the itching and gives the support I need sometimes to keep going. Is there anyone like that to whom you could send the occasional chapter?

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