People ask me lots of questions about writers and writing. Why do I do it? Who’s your favorite author? Where do ideas come from? Books or eBooks? What’s the best part? What’s the worst part?
The question they never ask is the one I face every day: “What’s the hardest thing about being a writer?”
The hardest part of writing is waiting. Not hemorrhoids, not lack of groupies, not writer’s block—the latter of which is never, ever like it is in the movies. I don’t have a wastebasket overflowing with crumpled notebook pages of bad opening lines. That’s what the delete key is for.
But we were talking about waiting. Tom Petty was right when he said it was the hardest part. Waiting is like reinforced concrete covered in steel, frozen and locked away in a bank vault that’s been welded shut and bricked up and buried in the depths of the deepest glacier in Antarctica.
And then comes the next minute.
What makes waiting so hard? Where would you like me to begin?
- I am an impatient person, probably the most impatient person in the world. Other writers have told me that, no, they are the most impatient in the world. Poppycock—which is how you swear in old movies and TV shows—I got the trophies. I am competitively impatient.
- Waiting is like fertilizer for self-doubt, and writers already have more of that than they’ll ever need. My own self-doubt is like an unformed twin growing out of the back of my head like Voldemort in the first Harry Potter movie. And it yammers at me constantly. Have you ever tried to cover the mouth on the back of your head while you’re trying to type? I am not an octopus.
- Waiting is built in to every single step of the writing process. From the first time you think, “Now, there’s an idea,” to the time somebody buys your book, there’s a huge bouquet of things you get to wait for.
- There’s nothing you can do about it. You just have to wait. And all the screaming and crying and complaining and making deals with yourself won’t make what you’re waiting for come any faster. Which, in my opinion, is a really stupid rule.
There’s like 872 more reasons why waiting stinks, bites, and rolls in butter. But hey, blogs are only so big, y’know. And writing about waiting makes me think about the things I’m waiting for right now, and makes the yammering in the back of my head louder, and makes me rip up calendars and wish there was a fast forward button on my life so I could shuttle ahead to the good parts.
But I digress …
What was your question again?