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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Just Wait

I know I’ve talked a lot about procrastination. During my Procrastinating Period I thought I was nuts—and I was partly right. But once I started writing, I realized how important that time of thinking was to my story.

So yesterday I read Ally Carter’s blog post on waiting. I did a little happy dance because The Ally Carter unknowingly validated all of my procrastination. You should really read the full thing, but for the curious I’ll sum it up: Wait.

To every question writers asked Ally on her blog—How do I get published? How do I build characters? How do I find an agent? And on and on—Ally told readers to stop and wait. There’s no rush, she said. Waiting can make you a stronger writer.

Now, was I consciously waiting because I have some weird telepathic connection to Ally Carter? Um, no. (Though that would be incredibly cool.) But still, the waiting made me a better writer and probably helped me avoid querying too soon.

Plus, I swear it’s the reason I’m here. And by here I mean at the computer with a finished manuscript, dark circles under my eyes, carpal tunnel, and cookie crumbs on my shirt. (Don’t judge.)

I spend months—11 months if my Gmail history is telling the truth—doing everything under the sun to avoid having to type the words Chapter One.

It started with the spark of an idea. I tucked it away for safe keeping for that one day maybe in the near future but probably really, really far into the future when I eventually wrote that book I’ve been wanting to write since I was young. I decided to write a book some time around sixth grade. I figured, what’s another six years? (I really asked that, a testament to my pathetic math skills.)

Anyhow, I procrastinated. I read agent blogs. I read writing blogs. I stalked/followed author blogs.

I panicked about having a lame idea. I panicked about not having any other ideas.

I got another idea. And another. And dozens more.

I tucked those away for safe keeping. Then I kept procrastinating.

I knew about queries and page formatting all before I ever opened a blank Word document. Which isn’t to say I’m in a better spot than anyone who jumped in head first.

I am saying that all of this procrastination, this waiting was actually part of my process. It’s the first step I took to being one of those people who don’t just say, “I want to write a book someday” but can say, “I wrote a book.”

And then Ally Carter stole my idea.

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