Wednesday, March 9, 2011

on timing, and everything

So, a few weeks ago, I was speaking with a friend who is also a writer, but not yet published, and I told this particular friend that the best time in a writer's life seems like the time before anyone ever suggests publishing you.

My friend looked at me like I was crazy.

But I'll stick to my guns on that one and give a stern be-careful-what-you-wish-for caveat.

There are lots of reasons why I believe this, and before anyone gets all outraged at me, let me explain why.

[And I am NOT whining here, either... being published is great... it's kind of like how being married compares to dating... er... it's like eating the cake that you've HAD for a really long time... it's like dolphin-free tuna... or something]

Before you get published, when you write, you write for yourself and nobody else.

You're not writing to pay the mortgage and put your kids through college.

Most importantly, before you get published, the writing universe ticks to the rhythm of your clock.

I explained to my friend that once you get published, one of the toughest adjustments (at least for me) is coming to grips with the fact that NOTHING will ever move along at your pace and rhythm.



So, enjoy this time.

It really is the best time in a writer's life.

Unless you happen to be writing for some other reason other than loving words and language (like trying to get famous, needing the ego stroke of seeing your name on some shelf, desperately yearning for someone to ask you for an autograph, or any other completely ridiculous and lame-assed reason why, it seems, an awful lot of people want to get published).

Here's a typical case-in-point:

I've been writing a new novel. It's coming along really great. Lots of progress every day, and when I go to bed at night I lie there thinking about how I can't wait to write the next part tomorrow.

That's how it should always be.

Then, yesterday, the pages for my next novel, Stick show up on my front door.

I have to read them.

I can't NOT do that. I need to be certain they're perfect.

And I totally love that book, maybe more than anything I've ever written. But the voice and everything about it completely RIPS me out of the thing I'm doing right now. And now I feel torn because I can't write what I went to bed last night dying to get down.

Because my writing universe is caught up in a bunch of other forces at the moment.

I just need to plow through this and get back to work, but Stick is definitely fucking with my head and throwing all my orbits out of whack.

Just thought I'd let you know what a great space you're in right now.

Enjoy this time.