Thursday, December 09, 2010

I hate waiting.

There. I've said it.

When I first started writing, I waited for the mail to come each day, hoping to find a magical acceptance letter hidden between the bills and magazines. I think my mail carrier might have been a little scared of me, the way I jumped out of my house everyday, the minute he came near.

Then, when I finally got published, I waited for reviewers to say nice things about my book. That waiting was even harder than the first kind. What if I stunk? Or what if I was a genius? Either way, my life would change dramatically. I became paralyzed with the anticipation. Waiting to see how my book would be received kept me from being able to focus on the important task at hand: writing my next book. Waiting was making me crazy.

After my first book got lovely reviews and even won a very nice award (and I determined I was neither genius nor stinky), I still had to wait. This time I was waiting to sell my second book. Then I waited for those reviews. And so on and so on and so on.


But, ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to say that I have found the cure for waiting! It comes in two parts.

Part I: I understand that the level of success of my writing career is not going to change who I am. I'm a writer. I get crabby when I don't write. I like having stories and characters in my head. I like the challenge of finding the right words and putting them in the right order. I constantly strive to write better books and dream bigger dreams. That's just who I am. Intellectually, there's nothing to wait for because I'm doing the thing I love to do.

Part II: When the logical part of my brain (See Part I above) isn't working, I appeal to my emotional side by plugging into my competitive spirit. Instead of waiting, I race. Right now, my agent is trying to sell my third novel. I'm pretty sure this is the best thing I've ever written, and I'm really excited about it. But at the same time, the market is tougher than ever. My sweet coming-of-age story for tweens is going to have quite a struggle to find its home. It's the perfect breeding ground for waiting-itis. But as I've blogged about before, I'm writing a new book, one that is completely different from anything I've ever attempted before. So here's what I'm doing... I'm racing against my agent. My goal is to finish the first draft of my fourth novel before she sells my third. She thinks she's going to win. I think I will. Truth is, I win either way. But don't tell her that!


Lisa Jenn Bigelow said...

Awesome, Brenda! I love both parts of your strategy and the perspective that surrounds it.

Brenda Ferber said...

Thanks Lisa!

Jack Foster said...

Well it’s nice to see that both parts of your brain decided to work together :o) Great post Brenda! Great advice for us illustrators as well. Hey I see we are practically neighbors. I grew up in Des Plaines :o)