The art of waiting – Amy Willoughby-Burle

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By Amy Willoughby-Burle

If you’ve been at this writing gig for a while, you know that nothing about it is fast. Especially if novel writing is your bag and traditional publishing is your goal. It’s a long journey, but a fun trip. I suggest you pack your road snacks and make sure you’ve got a map. Perhaps get a group of friends to go along for the ride with you. Maybe make a playlist, then hit the road. Because here’s the thing, once you get where you’re going — The End — you find you’ve really just begun.♥

You’ve begun to wait. You’ll wait for your friends and beta readers to send critique. You’ll wait for agents to respond. Even after you get an agent, you’ll wait for the manuscript to sell. After the book sells, yep, you guessed it, you’ll wait for it to release.

Luckily, there is a way to wait well.

Way 1 to wait: Write. Start something new.

Don’t worry that when your other book sells you’ll have to put the new one aside for a while. I encourage you to learn to juggle. If you’re serious about this business, you’re going to need to become adept at working on more than one thing at a time. This isn’t a hobby anymore. You’re doing this thing for real now. Yes, even if the money and the credits aren’t coming in yet, this is your job, and it’s awesome.

Way 2 to wait: Work.

If you haven’t already, start taking this job seriously and build an online presence. If you’ve gotten started, but you spent all your free time writing, get back online and start connecting with readers. Build a great website. There are so many options from free to paid, doing it on your own or hiring a web builder, that anyone who has access to the internet (yes, even free in the library) can build a great site. Visit the sites of other writers you admire for ideas on how to build yours.

Start a newsletter. Create a blog. Choose a form of social media that you enjoy and create an author page. Build your brand. An easy rule of thumb is to choose three things about yourself (not your writing per se) that you already love to talk about. (For me it’s food, coffee, and my sons’ love for science and dinosaurs) Post about those things. People will engage with you, and since it’s a genuine interest of yours, you’ll engage back. People will come to know you by these areas of interest. It won’t feel like “networking.” It will feel like building relationships — because that’s what it is. These are all things your future publisher will want you to have done, so you might as well start now and have fun doing it!

Way 3 to wait: Wander.

Wander into a book reading. Wander into a writing group. Wander online and search for writing and publishing blogs. Writing is a solitary business when it comes to getting the words on the page, but there is a vast community out there in which you should become involved. Your tribe awaits, wander around and find them.

See, this long road trip isn’t as arduous as you thought. You’ve got great music playing, and all your best buddies are along for the ride. This wait doesn’t even feel like waiting. It feels like living. You’re living the life of a writer, and you’re awesome at it.

Amy Willoughby-Burle is the author of The Lemonade Year and Out Across the Nowhere. She lives in Ashville, North Carolina with her husband and four children. She teaches Language Arts and Creative Writing to grades pre-K-12 at Elevate Life and Art.


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