If you want to be a writer the first thing you must learn is patience, for you will need it in abundance. Writing is not something that gives instant gratification. Success takes time to arrive, but I can assure you, when it does it will be all the sweeter.
You need to have patience at every stage in the game – and here is why:
1. Learning the craft. This takes time. We are not born writers. It is a skill we assimilate over the years, first through reading and then through taking up a pen ourselves. Take time to learn the craft. Attend workshops, join a writers group or forum, but above all write! The more you write the better you will get. But all this takes time. Don’t rush it.
2. Finding an Agent. The reason this can take a long time is because many people start submitting way too soon. They haven’t got past stage 1 yet – they’re still learning the craft. But even when you are ready, it can still take time. Some agents take months to get through their submissions. They’re busy people. And if you have a full request it will take them a while to read it and come to a decision. It’s all right to prod if months have passed, but don’t be impatient.
3. Getting a book deal. So you’ve been signed by an agent. That means the book deal is just around the corner – doesn’t it? The answer my friends is no. First your agent may ask for revisions. Take your time to get this right, otherwise your MS will only come back to you with more red ink! And then, once you’ve honed your novel out it goes. Do they come back immediately? They might, but more likely not. Some people can be on submission for a year before their book sells.
4. Seeing your book on the shelves: Oh yes – now you’re in for another wait. If your book has sold to one of the big publishing houses with a full schedule ahead you can be looking at 18 months to two years before you see your book on the shelves. Smaller and newer publishers may have faster turnaround, but you’re still likely to be waiting a year or so.
So here’s to patience, and here’s to success.