Writing involves a lot of waiting.
Waiting for ideas to grow. Waiting for time to write and drafts to brew (leaving a manuscript alone for a while before returning to it with fresh eyes). Writers wait for first readers to comment. For editors to respond. For edits to be made. For proofs to be set. And so on.
A writer inevitably learns to get good at waiting, or not.
I’m not sure which camp I’m in. Sometimes, I know these types of waiting are a quiet kind of action that improves how I put the words on the page and shapes the stories I tell.
Other times it just feels cruel. I buck up with indignant self righteousness, wishing this whole process wouldn’t take so long.
But maybe that’s why it does, and perhaps that’s one reason why, sometimes, it should.
Because there is a little question I’m constantly asking myself. And it is this: Does the world really need any of the words I write?
A tough question, to be sure.
But it's a true one. To be a writer does not necessarily mean I need to be published. Writing in and of itself is a worthy pastime, useful for nutting out the big issues, coming to grips with our emotions and the sake of pure enjoyment in the way words work together.
But to pursue publication, to write and wait for my books to reach shelves and the hands of young people and children, is a rather more scary endeavour. It’s not one I hope to ever take lightly. It’s a joy and responsibility I hope to live up to.
Does the world need more words? Probably not. So if I’m putting mine out there for someone to read, a little bit of waiting does me good. It keeps me humble, keeps me learning, keeps me trying my very best.
And so, today, I wait some more.