It's a fun book, and I totally enjoyed it as the character wandered through the magical places, the places with unnamed roads, and so forth. It was all great until we arrived at, "a most useless place. The Waiting Place."
...for people just waiting. Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go or the mail to come...On it goes for a few lines of the various things people in The Waiting Place are waiting for, snow, Friday night, etc. And then:
Everyone is just waiting.
NO! That's not for you! Somehow you'll escape all that waiting and staying. You'll find the bright places where Boom Bands are playing.As I read the rest of the book, I was completely distracted by how I totally disagreed with that. Life involves lots of inescapable waiting on its own, but the writing life? For writers, our Boom Bands days are few and far between.
We're constantly waiting. Like when a story isn't working like we know it should, and we set it aside and wait until we figure out the answer. Or when we send in a contest entry, we wait to hear back from the judges. We send our stories to critique partners, then we wait to hear what they think of them. And we send out queries to agents and editors, then wait and wait and wait to hear back.
When you're published, you wait for it to be your turn with your editor. You wait for content edits and line edits and sales numbers. You wait for the pub board to decide if you're worth investing in again. You wait for big name authors to respond to the hopeful emails you sent about endorsing your books.
Since Dr. Seuss' was an artist and writer, and since The Cat In the Hat was rejected a ridiculous amount of times, I'm guessing he understood that waiting was a part of life.
But there's a difference between waiting and just waiting, isn't there?
You know how when you go to the dentist and you know you'll be forced to sit in the waiting room for a bit of time? You take a book with you, right? As a writer, you can make a similar choice. And the earlier you learn to do it, the better off you'll be because writers get put in that waiting room a lot.
Here's a list of things you can do while you wait:
- Brainstorm another book.
- Write another book.
- Read a book on writing (like Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass)
- Write a few articles and work to get them published.
- Enter a writing contest.
- Try a different form of story, like a screenplay or a novel in verse.
- Read several books in your genre that are successful. Study them and make a list of why you think they work so well.
- Try coming up with a story that fits a different genre than what you normally write.
- Design your book cover
- Browse the bookstore and pay attention to what catches your eye, especially for authors you've never heard of. What titles make you curious enough to glance at the back cover copy? What back cover copy intrigues you enough to make you open the book? Which first lines hook you into the story?
- Take the time to send a handwritten letter to your favorite author. Don't ask for anything, just tell them what you about their books.
Are you waiting for anything writing-related right now? What are some other ideas we can add to this list?
p.s. If you're waiting for me to respond to your email, I apologize! I'm crazy behind at the moment due to revisions, the Go Teen Writers writing contest and challenge wrapping up, and celebrating my daughter's 5th birthday last Friday. But I'm working hard to catch up, and I really appreciate your patience.
|McKenna at her party enjoying her new Rapunzel doll|