Waiting for the Book
September 17, 2011
When life seems to be running on fast forward, i.e., I’m skipping from one activity to the next, the transition back to writing takes time. In the midst of wrapping up loose ends, taking care of everyday life, and preparing for the coming week, I’ve been neglecting the one creative thing I’d hoped to start this week—my revision.
It’s not easy to figure out if I’m stalling because I don’t have the energy, am still caught up in a previous activity, am basically lazy, or feel overwhelmed by the task ahead. But on the surface, my excuse is that I’m waiting for a book to arrive, Writing the Breakout Novel, by Donald Maass. My husband could tell you that I’ve been complaining that it should have come by now, notably on the day that he—not me—got a package from Amazon. Yesterday, when I found another book-sized package in the mailbox, I eagerly opened it only to realize it was for him, too. Ooops.
Funny/odd that I’ve put my creative juices on hold for a book that I read from cover to cover only two weeks ago. (It was a library book, so good I had to order it.) I’m not sure what I expect to happen when it gets here, except that I envision going through it again, using those sticky little post-its to mark the pages that struck a chord with me. In the meantime, I’ve been mulling over some of the big decisions I’ll have to make. Yes, that’s Step 1 every time—coming to a decision.
When you’re master of your book, as all fiction writers are, you make myriads of decisions, from plot to word choice. The decisions I’m facing concern the opening scene, the setting, the stakes, character development, and the ending, which I’ll address when the book arrives. (Providing it really does actually come, unlike the title character in the movie, Waiting for Guffman.)
If you’re a writer who’s hoping to publish, what are you waiting for?