Writing is similar to other jobs, and other times, bears no relationship to regular jobs.
Waiting has been fundamentally different in every job I have had.
- Busing tables meant waiting for people to finish eating.
- Lighting tv sets meant waiting for staging to finish setting up.
- IT means waiting for something to break.
- Writing means waiting for rejection or acceptance.
The fundamental difference in waiting as a writer is that you can still write.
I quibble with myself about how all jobs have overlapping roles and responsibilities, but for writing, it’s different and longer. I’m not used to such long turnaround times.
In the restaurant business, at least at the one I worked at, turnover time on tables was about 45 minutes. This was lunch rush. Which was chaos most days. The initial part of the shift was preparing for the day, the calm before the storm. Then non-stop for about 2 hours. I knew when the people would arrive. It was regular as clockwork.
In TV, you’d look at a set, discuss the treatment with the director, and know how long it would take. When all the sets were lit, you went home. Again, no waiting.
Working support in IT, I wait for a call or an email, fix the problem and then wait for the next one. When your shift is over, you’re done.
When you finish writing, you submit the story or novel or flash fiction and wait.
There is no clock to watch, or set to light or table to cleanup. You wait. There is no feedback, the piece of fiction goes out and then you wait. This varies from 30 days, to a year or more. During this time, I am learning to work on other pieces and the get them submitted. It’s not making you money on your computer.
Most authors, that talk about their process have multiple novels underway. This novel is out for submission, that novel is in revisions, here’s one being released. These processes are going on at the same time.
What this produces is fragmentation. The outlining process differs from the writing , which differs from editing. And submission and query letters are an art form to themselves. I joyfully wait for the time when I get to work with an editor because a piece of work is accepted. (Please feel free to quote me when I complain about an editor I am working with…)
I need to learn to write while waiting for whether a piece is accepted or rejected. If I end up selling one of the series first books, the second book better be ready to go PDQ. There is a grind to writing. A methodical repetitive cycle I seek to discover to let me perform as a writer. It’s a struggle for me. No doubt about it. But when I find it, whatever it is, I suspect that is when I will get an acceptance. Until then, I am looking for groove.
ETA to first rejection is one week if the submission guidelines are accurate.