Why writing is not for chickens.

And it’s not just because those scabby feet would make it really hard to type. Or because their brains are so small.

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This one reminds me a little of Barbara Cartland. Don’t ask me why.

Anyway, I digress. Writing isn’t for chickens, because not only does writing require fingers (unless you’re Christy Brown) and a brain bigger than a walnut (unless you’re *insert name of your least favourite author here*), it requires Nerves of Steel.

At the moment, I have 2 different manuscripts out on submission. Both have been out for over a month. For the uninitiated, in the publishing world this is a heartbeat. My longest submission time so far has been 9 months, and it’s not uncommon to wait over a year for a response from a publishing house. Having a book out on submission is extremely stressful – it’s not as if you get regular updates from the publisher. You get nothing. Until the day you get a yes, or a no, or a maybe. There are no guidelines as to how long the process is going to take, no finishing date. It ends when it ends. You don’t know why it’s taking so long (is it a good thing? Is it bad? Did hotmail send it to an alternate universe?’) and there is nothing you can do to hurry the process along.

And while you’re waiting, you have to write another book. Writing a book is a long, arduous process. Hundreds of hours spent on the same long, unwieldy document, trying to bend it until it makes sense. Reading book after book after book in order to feed the word hungry parts of your brain and then hoping that you’re not simply rewriting those without realising it. And as you work those hundreds of hours, you have no idea if the book will sell at the end of it (unless you’re J.K or Nora).

It takes Nerves of Steel to see that document through to the end, and not to give in to the million other (better) ideas that bombard you as you’re writing it. Nerves of Steel to check your Amazon ranking, and Nerves of Steel not to (FWIW, Amazon ranking tells you squat about how many books you’ve sold). Nerves of Steel to endure the unique form of torture that is having a book out on submission.

That’s probably why writers spend a lot of time feeling like this.

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Squawk.

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