The Waiting (is the Hardest Part)

Writing is hard. I know, cry me a river. What isn’t hard? Watching TV? Maybe. Ok, maybe watching TV isn’t hard. Watching good TV is another story. Or finding good TV. Or anything good. Especially if you’re searching for something on Netflix. Canadian Netflix. Which is the worst Netflix in the world.

But writing, too, is hard. Worse, is the business of writing. That’s really hard. It’s harder still if you’re impatient. The business of writing is slow food in a fast food court world. Except in a fast food court dedicated to slow food. But you see what I’m getting at. The business of writing is like trying to get hardened honey out of a jar. Sure, you can self publish, and more power to you, but I don’t want to be writer and editor and publisher and marketer and book seller. I just want to be the writer. So I’ve made my choices. I’m living with them. But let me complain just a little. About waiting.

You write a book. You write it a few times. If you’re lucky. If you’re me you write the book four times and you think it’s good to show (and you consider yourself lucky because the last time you wrote a book you wrote it at least ten times so if you have something decent enough to show after four you might be feeling a little good about yourself and it’s entirely possible you’re feeling a little too good) and then you find a great new agent (because your old one retired) and then you write the book another time (well, two times really, your agent is exact) so that it can be ready for market and then, and then, it’s summer, and the publishing industry is like some genteel club that summers in Tuscany and has to pack their trunks and order extra horses because so much stuff in so many trunks and then the train, oh, it takes a while to get to Tuscany and then you spend the entire month in Tuscany. There is nothing like finishing a novel right before this happens. Because you, dear stupid author, have mistimed things. The publishing industry is going to Tuscany. Or the Hamptons. Or Costa Rica. They are in all the nice places and none of the nice places are their offices.

Let us drink over yon for a fortnight whilst the writers work the plow…

So you make use of that time. While the publishing industry is in Tuscany, you’re buying books because you’re stupid, because, well, you have to write another book, because it’s what you do. And now you want to write something else, not just any book, but a book that requires a bit of research, maybe a lot of research, because you are an idiot with idiot interests and want to say idiotic things in a slow food manner to a fast food court world.

the research is, at least, colorful, damn it

But you do it. You hope that the publishing types, newly recharged from their idyllic summer sojourns, love what you’ve written, and then purchase it, so they can publish it in, oh, 18 months. These are people that take the long view.

They are not:

astronomers
geologists
paleontologists
evolutionary biologists
mortgage specialists

But they are also not:

Usain Bolt
short order cooks
horse flies
politicians
six year old assholes

They are somewhere in between. Publishers do not do fast, unless you were just acquitted of a spectacular crime, or got caught doing something very dumb, or want to get elected to something (and if you have managed all three of the above, congratulations, your book is already published!) — then publishers can get your book out in the time it takes to binge watch that show you’ve been wanting to watch and that everyone else has and so you decide to for the mere luxury of partaking in that conversation finally. Because it sounds like a good conversation, fun and deep, the kind of conversation that might bring on think pieces on Medium, because really, you’re tired of missing out on things, you need to take charge of your life, finally, and stop blaming your parents for your laziness.

Did I mention writing is hard? It is. But waiting to see it out in the world, at least, again, if you aren’t self-publishing, is even harder. So all this to say Tom Petty was right.

Originally published on my website. I know, people still have their own websites! What a funny thought that is.

Writer. Complainer. I drink bourbon. I have edited media, worked in content and branding and strategy, and chances are I’ll do those things again. @arjunbasu

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