Saturday, April 11, 2009


The third of my attempts at becoming a novelist is slowly forming within my word processing unit. I've just rounded chapter six. Given illness and a death in the family, I suppose I should be happy that I've made it this far. I'm not. I'm beginning to get that nagging feeling that I should, as they say, 'get a move on.'

Why? Because, as always, I'm impatient. I keep telling myself that by now I should be working on revision rather than first draft. And believe me! This is a first draft. A friend of mine finishes her first draft and sends it to beta right away. She can. She's been at this longer, she's managed to snatch an agent and a publisher, and she knows who she is as a writer. She's not exactly Father Time, but compared to me, she's an ancient, wizened writer. I'm still a toddler while she's got the writing biz down to a science. Can she make mistakes? Sure, but she's far less likely to do so than this babe in swaddling clothes. What's she got that I ain't got? Patience.

I'm reminded of Shawshank Redemption, of the hero spending decades pounding through the concrete with his little rock hammer. The whole escape process from the movie is very much a metaphor for becoming a writer. We hammer at our keyboards instead of concrete but getting the agent and publisher we need is equally difficult. The main character in Shawshank never gave up, no matter what obstacles he came across or what voice told him it was impossible. He didn't rush the process. He looked at each segment of concrete powder, grinned, and kept on pushing until, one layer at a time, he managed to reach his goal.

That's what it's all about, I suppose. We just have to keep on pushing, pounding away at the concrete wall that separates us from success. The powder will drop to the floor each time we made headway, and then finally....poof! Goal reached.

I'll try to keep Shawshank's hero in mind as I struggle with the WIP. BTW, I'm feeling better already!

1 comment:

. said...

Good point about Shawshank's metaphor, particularly since it was written by Stephen King, who, I'm sure, knows a bit about patience.

BTW, you already ARE a novelist. What you're trying to become is a PUBLISHED novelist. But you have more than one novel done and revised. Are they ready to go to an agent yet? No, but that's a matter of time and persistence. However, you've written and completed novels (good ones, I must say) and that makes you a novelist. If you stopped now, you'd still BE a novelist, albeit an unpublished one.

What you're doing all the work and going through all the pain for is representation and publication. That's why it's still hard work -- because each of those demands a higher level. Are you able to reach it? Absolutely. With, you know, patience. :-D