The Thing About Waiting

Let’s go back. WAY BACK. Like 2007 way back when Baby Writer Prerna was born. For years I’d created stories in my head, I even attempted to write a novel during my freshman year in college with disastrous results. But 2007 is significant because that’s when I discovered that most writers suck when they start. And the only way to get better is to, well, write.

Fast forward a couple of years (maybe even three). I finish my fist manuscript. It is terrible. I don’t think it’s that bad. But it is. It so is. It’s a paranormal romance. If any of you remember what the market was like way back when then you’ll know that I decided to query at the very worst time possible for paranormal. Of course it didn’t help that my manuscript was awful. I waited it out for a while and moved on. I wrote another book, a contemporary, it wasn’t half bad. I got some requests! Then I waited. And the rejections piled on.

Fast forward and now I’ve worked on yet another contemporary, and even though I liked it, there was another idea niggling at me and I knew I had to get it out. Thus began my journey in writing Chase the Night. I got lots of requests with that one. And waited. Yet again. And the rejections started rolling in. Again.

In 2016 I put aside Chase the Night (at the time it was titled Fading). In 2017 I decided to rework it and post it on the Swoon Reads website. This was about three years after I finished the first draft. I figured I had nothing left to lose, so why not? In the beginning of 2018 I got the call.

So what was the point of this whole post? To tell you that things can take a while. So often we hear and read about the overnight successes, those first manuscripts that got snatched up at auction, those authors who were barely beginning and post about the dozen! (Goodness, a whole dozen!) rejections they received before getting the call. I’m hear to tell you those stories are rare, they are not the standard when it comes to the publishing business. Most of us work and wait for years before we find any sort of success. Even those who have been published before end up waiting until their third, fourth, or fifth book is out for things to really take off, just look at Suzanne Collins.

And that’s okay. Success is not one size fits all. We all get there in different ways. Some of us wait longer than others. I’m here to tell you that waiting can be worth it. Yes, it can also be painful and cause crippling self-doubt (things that don’t really go away after you get an agent or a book deal either), but it will help you become a stronger writer, grow a thicker skin, and learn to be patient, and those things are essential if you want to survive in this business.

So keep waiting. But make sure that while you’re doing so you’re also moving forward, because in the end that is the mark of true success. Someone who keeps going despite knowing that rejection waits for them around the corner.