There is a dirty secret about being an author that no one ever talks about. I’m here to blast it to the world today.
Being an author involves a lot of waiting. A lot. You’ll get the incredible high of getting that contract, or seeing your cover art, or holding your book, or reading a review, but those things last for moments. Maybe a day, for the big milestones. Then you’re back to waiting. If it were up to you, things would move along at a steady pace. But so much of the publishing world is not up to you.
This has been one of the most surprising things to me about being an author. I have dreamed of writing my whole life, but I never dreamed there would be so much waiting. Some days I don’t use the waiting time well, to be honest. I sit and stare at my computer, waiting for something to happen. Then the day is over and I have nothing to show for it.
But if you want a career in writing, you have to get used to it. You have to find things to do while you wait. They say that success is a great motivator, but you can’t wait for the motivation of success. You have to keep working. In light of that, here are some things you can do while you wait for that next step in your writing career, whatever that may be.
This seems like a given, but it’s the hardest thing to do. You want to know if what you’ve already written is going to gain some traction, but honestly you can’t wait for that. Because it may or it may not. If it does, you want to have something ready to go for the next thing. If it doesn’t, you want to have your next project going or ready, the one that might be the one to gain speed.
Read in your genre. You might be surprised at the inspiration that comes from reading other works in the same genre that you want to write. Read books about marketing and platform building, because those are crazy important for writers. They are often the areas where authors are the most weak. Learn all you can so you know how to catapult your story beyond what the publisher will do for you.
Tinker with your website. Look around at other websites and find what you like about them, then use that information to enhance yours. (Of course, this assumes you have a website. If you don’t, then change this step to Build a Website and move it to the top of the list.)
Embrace the waiting. It is almost as big a part of a writing career as the story itself. What would you do while you wait? Let me know!