Time is on Your Side


Photo credit: kamera.obskura on Flickr
At the beginning of my writing career, I was racing against the clock.

I read about authors like Christopher Paolini who wrote the first draft of Eragon when he was 15 and had it published traditionally five years later at the age of 20. I devoured books and read so-called “instant” best-sellers and wondered what they were doing that I wasn't.

I worried that I was taking too long.

It wasn’t until much later, after rounds of rejections and trunking novel after novel that I realized that time wasn’t working against me—it was working for me.

The fact of the matter is it takes time to hone your craft. It takes years of practice and writing and reading and getting feedback and writing and reading until your skill level matches your passion. Stop running and take the time to enjoy the ride.

Don’t rush the writing—the process of discovery, of improving, of falling in love with your characters and the world you’ve created is beautiful. Take the time to marvel at what you’ve created.

Don’t rush the editing—as they say, writing is rewriting and there is just as much to be learned from the editing as there is from the writing.

Don’t rush the submissions—take the time to make sure your book is the best that it can be before you send it out. Research agents and guidelines and take the time to personalize your queries—it makes a difference.

Don’t rush the publication—I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again: please don’t publish for the sake of publishing. Go indie if you think it’s the right choice for you, but don’t slap your book up on Amazon just because you can.

Slow down and remember that time is on your side—the more time you take to improve your craft, the better prepared you’ll be when your time to shine comes.

Have you ever been tempted to rush through part of the process? Share you experience in the comments! 

16 comments:

Laurapauling said...

I know I have felt that race at times. We all need to breathe deep and realize we are not in competition with each other and time is good for our writing and our researching and submitting!

Jennifer Bennett said...

I'm totally a rusher and I understand what you're saying about worrying what your doing wrong, but your right time is on our side. great post!

Ava Jae said...

Exactly! It's tempting to pressure ourselves to finish writing faster, but the best thing we can do is take our time to get it right.

Ava Jae said...

Thanks, Jenny! It's hard to slow down and really take the time to improve our craft sometimes, but it's well worth the effort. :)

Jon Arntson said...

"Slow down..." Whew. I feel invigorated by those two words.

Mbetters said...

Wow... this may stupid, but I think you just changed my viewpoint on writing :0

And here's why: I can't count how many times I've had resolutions to finish writing a novel before a certain time, or compared myself to bestsellers like Christopher Paolini, etc.

This is a powerful reminder that good art comes slowly and meticulously, with patience and perseverance; nobody sprints a marathon.

Thanks for this!

Ava Jae said...

Takes some of the pressure off, doesn't it? :)

Ava Jae said...

That doesn't done stupid at all--I was certainly like that when I first started writing and I think many new (and sometimes not-so new) writers are.
I'm happy to see you got my point completely-- you're so right, no one sprints a marathon. :)

Tina Moss said...

Yes, yes, and more yes! Especially to the "publishing too soon". I've seen it happen to many a talented writer who really needed that one extra beta reader or editorial review.

nick_hight said...

Great reminder. I sometime feel myself falling into the trap. I'm fifteen now, and sometimes I feel like I have to beat Paolini's get-published-young record, or that I should have finished planning out this series a year ago. But when I step back and actually think about it, I know that's not true. Time is on my side. As long as I keep working on it, I'll take just the right amount of time, and come out the other side with something really worth waiting for. Neat post!

Ava Jae said...

It's certainly a downside to the ease of self-publishing now.

Ava Jae said...

Don't let being young tempt you into trying to beat other authors age-wise (and I know just how tempting it is.) Just that you started writing at a young age is a blessing and puts you ahead of the curve. Don't rush it--with enough patience, practice and determination you'll get there!

Shannon Mayer said...

What a great post and a great reminder. I think that I was really needing this and I appreciate that you were able to put into words what I've been thinking about. :)

Ava Jae said...

It's an easy thing to forget. Even I need to remind  myself sometimes. 

Susankayequinn said...

I always like to go fast and faster. I'm seriously an impatient person, but that's also just the speed that I go. But you're absolutely right in there are some things that cannot be rushed and the creative process is one of them. I believe we just get better and better as writers, so i love the idea of giving yourself the gift of that time. 

Ava Jae said...

The nice thing about writing is that there is very little backwards movement. You learn something from everything that you write that you can then apply in the future. As long as you keep working and writing and actively seeking to improve, you will. 

Time is certainly a gift. Use it wisely. 

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