Monthly Archives: November 2015

Waiting

We all hate waiting.  Only yesterday I had a conversation with another children’s author about waiting.  About being a mother and hanging around.  Waiting for someone to need something. Needs that come at irregular intervals, just close enough together to stop you getting on with something.

It’s about not knowing.  Uncertainty. Start stop.  It stops you focussing.

I remember that one of the worst things before I had both agent and contract, was waiting.  Waiting with hope, daring to hope, deciding not to hope.  Getting an email, not getting an email. It was all agony. Every time I sent something off, I hoped, told myself not to hope. Pretended I didn’t care when I did, deeply.

You might assume that after publication this doesn’t happen anymore. It’s like taking exams, something you do at the beginning but not later on. But it doesn’t quite work like that.

I have two fantastic editors, and a brilliantly lovely agent, and they are never rude. And they don’t take longer than they need to and I know that they will get back to me in the end. It’s not the same as wondering if your manuscript has ended up in a lost pile in a sorting office, or slipped unseen into the junk box of some agent’s email.

That’s much worse.

And generally, I’m pretty good at making sure these things overlap, so that I’m busy doing something else, not just waiting. And I’d rather they took their time over it than rushed to get back to me. And I’m sure that sometimes they’re waiting for me. 

But today. I’m waiting.

Indecision V Prevarication

For me, and I’m really talking personally here, these two are my worst enemies.

Indecision, is the thing that stops me writing – really.   Because in my experience the hard part of writing, and in some ways the exciting part of writing is  making millions of tiny decisions.  From tiny, to massive.  What word? Where? How?  What voice?  What character?  What should I do here?  What shouldn’t I do here?  What would happen if I took that section out and scrapped this character?  I have to think it through.  All the way through, but often my tiny mind isn’t really up to it, so instead, I get about half way and then…

I prevaricate.

I do a multitude of pointless things, like Twitter and Facebook and checking my sales figures on Amazon – Oh yes, I hate Amazon but I want to sell my books on it.  My son says “we’re human, we have a right to hypocrisy.”

trees

I clean the fridge, I empty the dishwasher, I paint windows, I pick up fallen apples and prepare them so that they add to the already enormous quantities of stewed apple stowed in the freezer, ready and waiting for the zombie apocalypse.  I dig the allotment so that the weeds have a better time in the freshly tilled soil.  I walk. I stare at the sky. I write blog posts.  I try to play Moonlight Sonata on the out of tune piano.

And so, after several days, when I’ve prevaricated enough, I go back to make myself make that decision. The idea is that time will have done the work for me.  Like sleep and that ravelled sleeve that Shakespeare invented.

If I’m really lucky, time has, and some higher wind takes me through it really fast and the little fragments of grey matter that have been so absorbed in packing apple into the freezer know exactly what to do.  Within minutes a whole mass of decisions have been made and acted upon.

But if I’m not lucky, as if tramping through mud on a slope, the whole thing becomes messy and backwards and I wish I was still painting windows.

Or peeling apples.