Someone just asked me what the worst thing about being a writer is. Took me less than a second to answer:


I’m always waiting for my editors, or agents, or publicists, or someone to get back to me. Yes, all of mine are miraculously fast. Yes, I’ve never had to wait more than a week for notes on any of my books. But when you’re waiting for notes a week is an eternity! Sadly, my middle name is not patience.

But the wait for money to show up is genuinely interminable, and the wait for my books to finally come out already? Ditto. I finish the bugger in, say June, and it doesn’t come out until March of the following year—if I’m lucky! In publishing land, that’s fast. Waiting, waiting, waiting.

One of the longest waits is between finishing a book and getting reader responses, finding out if people other than Scott and my editors think it’s unchunderiffic. That’s partly why I send out my early drafts to so many first readers. Otherwise I don’t find out till the end of time what people think of it. But most of them don’t get back to me, or they do much later than they said they would. And because I do exactly the same thing to them I can’t get cranky. Not fair! (Well, okay totally fair, but bloody annoying!)

The following true stories have random pronouns attributed to them in order not to reveal who the waiting writers are:

Right now I have one friend waiting on an editorial letter. He was supposed to have it weeks and weeks ago. He’s going insane, unable to concentrate on other tasks because he knows the minute the ed letter comes in he’ll be thrown into convulsions because he’ll only have ten minutes to do the rewrite and it will probably involve having to throw out the whole thing and start from scratch. Editors can be cruel that way.

Another friend has a proposal out for a series of book completely unlike anything she’s written before. She loves this project more than anything else she’s ever worked on. She’s in paroxysms waiting to see if it sells. What if it doesn’t? Will she be stuck writing books like the ones she’s been writing and is now bored of? Will it torpedo her entire career if this new series doesn’t sell? Aaaarghhhh!! She is in a total state and the proposal’s only been out a few days . . .

And then there’s the waiting when you get given fabulous news and you’re not allowed to say a thing about it. That’s kind of a delicious yet frustrating waiting.

I am waiting on one of those right now. It’s doing my head in. I know the trick is to put the waiting out of my mind and keep writing, but that is so so so much easier said than done.

I am a much more patient person than I was ten years ago. And massively more patient than twenty years ago. But I’m still not patient. Gah!