Thursday, June 4, 2015

Watched Pots, Orthopteran

When we’re five, the world seems to move at a snail’s pace, and when we’re ten times that (give or take), we often comment about how fast the years seem to go.

Lately, I’ve been getting an itch (other than the eczema). People talk about how SLOW traditional publishing is. It is a perennial theme, especially amongst us pre-published folk who yearn to control the experience of trying to get there by dint of “UNDERSTANDING” it in almost tortuous detail.

Nobody ever seems to think TP (hee hee) moves speedily, even those of us who have to stop between breathy astonishments every month that it has already gotten to be this month to take a bit of Metamucil.

I look around at “most writers” and think – good Lord, y’all are writing novels in the space of under a year, or getting published before age forty – and you think this is slow? Well, my LANDS!

If I were querying, (or if I ever do again), it’s probably cruddy self-admission, but any amount of reading at this blog is going to make it plain to any agent in the world – it took me a decade to write The Ax and the Vase, and the damned thing isn’t even out with anyone anymore. It’s “lying fallow” (a far nicer fantasy to hold onto than “I trunked the bastard”) and unlikely to see publication soon, and perhaps ever.

Ten years.

I queried it too early, squandered the first half of my forties, queried it still-too-early-but-less-egregiously-so again, kicked its ass, got it into shape, queried the four agents left on the planet not already pestered with the thing, and moved on to the WIP.

Research isn’t even remotely complete, and that’s months on now from realizing I had to let go of Ax. I don’t expect the WIP to take ten years again, but this novel won’t be written in months, either (hence letting go of Ax being so difficult).

Traditional publishing isn’t slow, it’s just that we are impatient. We’ve also had our attention spans reset – clipped ever slenderer – time and time again just in the last sixty years, and it’s more and more difficult to understand outcomes that cannot be had instantaneously.

I am old (Father William), and here is the irony – I rather savor the slowness of my education and prospects as an author. I do want to get there, but I’m not upset it’s not a shorter road, nor wishing my life away to get to publication, as if it is the only finish line worth reaching. Even with all the difficulties, there is some reassurance that anything left in this world travels at a pace deliberate rather than precipitate. All goals will come and go soon enough; met or not.

What I’m saying is …

Patience, Grasshopper.

Or, to jam on Janet Jackson


“I promise, it’ll be worth the wait.”

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