And she writes great books. And did I mention she's so nice? I can't not like her. ~sigh~
So give a huge Playground welcome to fellow Presents author Kate Hewitt.
Kate Hewitt on Waiting
No one likes to wait. I’ll admit I’m not the most patient person, although I’m trying to improve in this area. Even when I take a good book to a doctor’s or dentist’s office, I can’t help but get annoyed if the wait extends past say, 15 minutes.
Unfortunately, a writing career involves a lot of waiting. Anyone in this business, whether aspiring or multi-published, knows that when you send your beloved manuscript to an editor, the wait can be looong. Like months or even years long. We’ve all heard the stories about manuscripts languishing on an editor’s tottering TBR pile for years—just like we’ve heard the stories about people who heard back in maybe a day. Or an hour. Generally I want to shoot those people. Nicely, of course.
And of course, there’s more waiting in a writing career. There’s waiting for an editor’s response, and then there’s waiting for a response to revisions. There’s waiting for the book to come out—usually around a year after it was accepted—and then there’s waiting for the money you made on that book—which is another year. Just as a quick (no pun intended, really!!) example, my first Harlequin Presents, The Italian’s Chosen Wife, was first submitted in July 2006, officially accepted in February 2007, released in January 2008, and I received royalties from its sales in November 2008. And that is actually pretty much a best-case scenario in terms of time.
So, waiting. We writers do a lot of it. But I’m not here to moan about the waiting (I just heard from my editor on my 12th book, so it’s all smiles here, really!). I’m here, actually, to praise the power of waiting.
Yes, really. Waiting—even, perhaps especially, enforced waiting—can give you perspective on your manuscript, your career, your creative process, even yourself. It gives you distance and objectivity that can be really hard to achieve as a writer, because we hug our stories so tightly to ourselves. Waiting can recharge the creative process, and sometimes it gives you those beautiful ah-hah moments. What’s an ah-hah moment? Well, for me, it’s the light suddenly going on in my brain, and I realize the crucial element that has been missing in my story, or how to fix a scene, or how to write the next chapter.
And the ah-hah moments always come when I stop brainstorming, or even thinking about the story, and just let my mind stew in its own juices for a little while. I wait. Then, when I least expect it—maybe I’m rocking my one year old at two in the morning or playing checkers with my five year old or brushing my eleven year old’s hair [yep, I have a lot of children!]—I get it. The ah-hah moment. It’s like an electric charge to my soul. Of all the writing moments—from thinking of an idea, to writing the first sentence, to getting that charge of realization, to writing The End, to holding the book in my hand, to holding the check in my hand, the ah-hah moment is my favorite. But there’s no guarantee I’m going to get it; it’s a little like waiting in front of an elevator and not being sure if it actually goes to your floor or that the doors are going to open [which in my ancient apartment building is a distinct possibility, alas]. So you need to wait—and hope. Think, and perhaps pray.
Now I write four books a year and I can’t necessarily wait for that little muse to land on my shoulder. Sometimes I just need to plunk down in front of my computer and write, even if it’s not something worth keeping, even if it’s painful and hard, because I’ve just got to get some words down. But there are some times when I recognize it’s better to close the laptop, take a step back, and wait for clarity, for creativity, for the ah-hah moment. Even if waiting is hard, or boring, or you forgot to bring a book to read.
Have you got an opinion about waiting in the writing process? And what’s your favorite part of writing? Just to make things fun, I’ll pick a winner from the comments posted and that person will receive a copy of my November Presents Extra release, Royal Baby, Forbidden Marriage.
Visit Kate's website at www.kate-hewitt.com. And you can read the first chapter of Royal Baby, Forbidden Marriage by clicking below: