While U Wait

Wendy Lawton

Blogger: Wendy Lawton

I grew up in the Mission District of San Francisco. It was a magical place for a child to live– corner stores on every block. Many of our neighbors lived above retail establishments. The closest was a Chinese laundry owned by our friend Honey Lee’s parents. They had a big sign in the window that offered dry cleaning and alterations “While U Wait.” On a table inside was a box of old Mahjong tiles in case anyone wanted to play while they waited. We rarely saw anyone take them up on their offer, though we often teased about the possibilities. To a pack of ten-year-old kids nothing seemed funnier than imagining a man in his drawers waiting for his slacks to be stitched.

That While U Wait sign stayed with me. I was not very good at waiting and yet, I’d hate to try to figure out what percentage of my life has been spent waiting for something or someone. Seeking to be become a published author is the grandfather of all waits.The good news is, there’s plenty that can be accomplished during the wait. Let me just highlight a few things:

  • Hone Your Craft– Never again will you have the time to lavish on a manuscript. Learn everything you can now and enjoy writing sans pressure.
  • Build Your Network of Peers– This is the time to get to know other writers. These are the people who will help influence, endorse your books and commiserate with you along the journey.
  • Gather Your Tribe– It’s true you have no readers until you have a book out there but identifying your readers and beginning to “hang out” with them online is one of the best things you can do. If you are writing, say, in the field of productivity, find the blogs and networks where productivity aficionados hang out. Participate. Give much more than you receive. It is all part of earning a readership.
  • Learn to Harness Technology– How I wish I had learned to build a website and mastered every feature in both Quark XPress and Photoshop before my life got so crazy busy. Now is a time when you can seriously learn to use the tools you’ll need in a digital age.
  • Create a Unique Social Network Persona– Spend time online. With your book and brand in mind become memorable. Gain a significant following by offering valuable content. These days nothing outside of a knock-em-dead book will help you get published faster than if you are the go-to blogger on a subject that connects to your book. By go-to blogger I mean the name everyone thinks of when your subject comes up.
  • Develop Your Website– Your Online Base. This is as important to your business as a compelling storefront used to be to a retail establishment. Be innovative and always keep your reader in mind.
  • Meet Editors and Agents– This is a significant part of the professional network you are building. Where do you accomplish this? At writer’s conferences. Online. I see many writers connecting in a meaningful, appropriate way to agents and editors on Facebook and other social media. Never has it been so easy to get to know professionals.

I know those are just a few of the things that you can do While U Wait. Once you are published, you’ll never again have enough time to do what needs to be done.

So, your turn. What are some other things you can do While U Wait? If you are already published and find you’re moving from one book to the next with marketing, edits, galleys, proposing new books and writing the contracted ones. . . what do you wish you had done during those waiting years?

 

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117 Comments

  • One thing that I’ve been TAH-RYING to do is find the balance I need for when I’m actually contracted and pubbed.
    Balance with our day to day life is tough enough. When I worked outside the home (you know, doing nuclear physics, being a super model AND learning how to yell at a ref in Spanish) it actually was easier to schedule my life than it is now.
    Why? Because things COULDN’T get done while I wasn’t there and I had to be tight with what time I did have.
    But now that I’ve been sidelined with a few boo-boo’s and can’t work, I’ve fallen victim to “I’ll do that in a few minutes, just let me edit this-itis”.

    Yesterday, my husband had the FLAMING NERVE to suggest I toss a load of laundry in. I mean, REALLY?!?!?
    SOoooooo, yeah. I AM home. I need to tighten up the day again and get things done, because someday, I will have obligations beyond hockey and choir and mission trips.
    I look forward to that day, but I need to get all zen-y and find my inner daytimer.

    • It can be so hard to work from home. Even though you tell the other four lovelies who live there with you that you’re working, the fact remains that it’s too easy for the kiddos to ask what’s for dinner when it’s only 2:11 in the afternoon. And it’s too easy for the wonderful man I married to want to share his video game success with me when he’s done for the day. Nothing kills the flow of a crucial, emotional scene like being told how many zombies he just offed. Yes, I know we’ll be protected during the zombie apocalypse because of all your practice, but for now can I please write? ;)

      All joking aside, it’s not nearly as bad as it used to be. And my husband’s awesome at working from home in the afternoon (the kids never think to ask Dad what we’re eating for dinner and when) so I can get out of the house and work. As long as parents control their kids at the library, I’m good.

      Yeah, let’s not get started on that one!

      • I spit toast crumbs out when read “Nothing kills the flow of a crucial, emotional scene like being told how many zombies he just offed.”
        You are SO blessed for a man with that kind of training!

        I’m proud to report I’ve folded a load of laundry, changed the sheets on #4’s bed, Drano’d TWO sinks and fed the woodstove. Now I can work , guilt free, for a while.

        Oh my WORD! Kids at the library? Uh huh. Preach it, sister.

      • Ha! Glad I could make a new mess for you to clean up. I’d offer, but Kansas to Canada might take awhile. :)

      • Offer to help clean up, that is.

      • I’ll wait.
        ;)
        Get driving!!

      • Larry says:

        “…And it’s too easy for the wonderful man I married to want to share his video game success with me when he’s done for the day. Nothing kills the flow of a crucial, emotional scene like being told how many zombies he just offed.”

        THAT, needs to be worked into a story you write. :)

        Verbatim. Gold right there, I tells ya!

      • Um, Jennifer, just saw your “Get driving” comment. So, um, yeah. Might be awhile.

        And, Larry, I have worked one of his other video game lines into my WIP. :) Is that enough to make you want to buy women’s fiction? :D

      • Larry says:

        If I can help steer that genre away from the monopoly of the Bonnet Cartel, then by golly you’ve just sold a copy of your novel! :)

      • The Bonnet Cartel–love it!

    • Giggle, giggle. I needed your sense of humor today, Jennifer.

      I understand exactly what you’re saying. Here I am checking out blogs when I should be writing or coordinating my next blog tour. Sigh. Schedules remain important, which is why when we don’t have one the whole world goes to hell in a handbasket. What is a handbasket anyway? :) Praying you find a way to create some balance soon.

      • Hi Cheryl! I’m glad I could lighten your load.:)
        Hubs is at his office today. YAY!
        Thankfully, the kids are at school and I’ve gotten a tonne of work done today. Both written and domestic.
        I’ve discovered I write best in the morning and then I ponder and work on other things in the afternoon. I keep very detailed notes as well as word files of important stuff.
        The balance is fine as long as the one doing the juggling doesn’t get distracted.

        SQUIRREL!

    • Wendy Lawton Wendy Lawton says:

      That B-word–BALANCE– is so elusive,whether we are pre- or post-published. If you figure it out and can bottle it, we’ll be beating a path to your door.

      I’m reading Charles Duhigg’s book, The Power of Habit, and I’m guessing if you could make balance a habit before you are published, nothing could be as valuable to an author afterward.

    • Yes, balance is SO important–yet so hard to achieve.

      And shame on your husband! Suggesting that YOU do laundry. What WAS he thinking! ;)

  • I’ve been taking advantage of the online webinars and classes agents and editors offer from time to time. And although some of the topics are not applicable just yet on my writing path, I squirrel the information away on flash drives until it becomes relevant. I’ve got quite the “someday” library stored up in my cyber waiting room. :-)

  • Jeanne T says:

    Years ago, I read a devotion, I believe it was in Streams in the Desert, and it talked about waiting actively, with anticipation. This is definitely the road where I get to practice that. :) I’m not at the point where I’m waiting for answers to queries yet, but I am going to be more proactive in doing some of the things you’re recommending. :)

    Thanks, Wendy!

    • Jeanne, I’m not at the query stage yet either, but I want to use this time be teachable. That’s why this blog is so valuable.

      I just recently started my own blog. So much to learn…

    • Wendy Lawton Wendy Lawton says:

      I’ve always thought it was notable that the word “wait” in the Bible means an entirely different thing than it commonly means. We think of waiting as a time as a time of twiddling thumbs and tapping toes in impatience. When God says, “Wait on me. . .” he’s talking about seeking and listening.

  • I’ve been to San Fran once, Wendy, and loved it. Best crab cakes ever! I’m not familiar enough to know the area you lived in, but it was really such a beautiful town, especially having lived in the Midwest my entire life. Who knew you could actually build on slants?

    I think the biggest thing we should do while we wait is write. Write the next book and the next. Nothing’s worse than having editors say, “Not this one, but what else does she have?” and have nothing to show them. Been there, done that. When this book is done, I’m off to the next one.

    • Jan Thompson says:

      “I think the biggest thing we should do while we wait is write. Write the next book and the next.” Well put, Sally!

      My thoughts exactly. IMO this is the best way to hone our writing skills. After Michael Crichton passed away, they found MSS all over the place. Unfinished, finished, unpublishable, whatever. But the thing was that he wrote and wrote. Same with Hemingway.

      So far I haven’t read a good debut novel by an author who has written nothing else prior to it, Margaret Mitchell notwithstanding. In her case, “Gone with the Wind” was her best and perhaps her only publishable work. The rest weren’t that good. I think there’s something to the old adage “don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”

      To that end, I started thinking in terms of multi-books when I write. I see that authors need longevity and consistent productivity. And IMO the way to sustain that is to keep writing. Most authors put out one book a year. Writing for 8-10 months, 2 months promo, that’s the entire year used up. There is hardly any time to sit and do nothing.

      So, very well said, Sally! I’m in agreement!

      P.S. San Fran is one of my favorite places too! Love the atmosphere, not just during Fleet Week. And crab cakes :-)

      • Yes, Sally and Jan–great advice. When my second novel went out on submission, I figured I’d hear back in a couple months (disregarding all the horror stories of year-long+ waits). SURELY my book would be the exception to the rule, right?

        WRONG. About eight months into the wait, writer friends suggested I start writing another book. I decided to write in a different genre instead of putting all my eggs in the basket of the book out on submission. SO WHAMMO, 3+ months later, and I have a book to show for it. A book I LOVE and a series I want to PURSUE.

        So don’t stop writing in those waits. But you have to have enough distance from that first book-baby to ponder another one. Don’t put all your hopes on one book. Take it from someone who’s ALMOST been on submission for a year now…hee.

      • For the first time I’m tracking how much I write. Since April I’ve done 140,000 words. That shocked me.

        So, yes, writing a lot is key and, holy cow, it can be done. :)

        Heather, very cool! Hope the new book takes off for you.

    • Wendy Lawton Wendy Lawton says:

      This is solid advice. You’ve nailed it, Sally.

  • Lisa says:

    Thanks for this encouraging reminder. I have really been learning to embrace this waiting time. I find that I am so thankful for it. When my time to be published comes (God willing) I want to be ready. This waiting time is really strengthening my voice and my ability to feel comfortable in the writing world.

    • Wendy Lawton Wendy Lawton says:

      “This waiting time is really strengthening my voice and my ability to feel comfortable in the writing world.”

      What an important observation. It’s so true. We are seeing potential clients now who are miles ahead of many of the long-published authors. The market changes and it takes time to stay engaged in the writing world.

  • Love this post. It’s easy to think we’re waiting with no purpose, but now is the time to spend learning more, going deeper, becoming the writer we will be. I compare it to going to school before getting the big job. You have to put in your time, but eventually you’ll graduate and start your work. It’s a lot easier if you learned (while in school) what you actually need to know to work the job. You can keep going back to that knowledge. But if you’re thrown into the job without the proper training, you just feel like you’re drowning and the name of the game is survival.

  • Jill Kemerer says:

    I would love to visit San Francisco! It sounds amazing!

    A few years ago, I spent several months learning about websites (not code!). I’m so glad I did! Tweaking and adding to mine makes me happy.

    Last year, a friend shared Picasa tips with me, and I had a lot of fun learning how to make business cards and web-banners.

    It hit me that I have written over 600 blog posts! So last week I created a “Best of” list of my most popular posts. It’s now a permanent feature on the Articles page in my website.

    Waiting can be fun!

    • Jeanne T says:

      San Francisco is a beautiful city, Jill. I hope you get out there one day. You’ve got to go to Ghiradelli Square, with that chocolate habit you have and all. :)

      • Um. Excuse me?
        My very best friend in the entire world and one of the few people who can pronounce my maiden name, lives 45 minutes from Ghiradelli Square HAS NOT ONCE taken me there.
        I say we move Kathryn Elliot’s online wine bar THERE.

      • Jeanne T says:

        Sounds like a plan, Jennifer!

    • Wendy Lawton Wendy Lawton says:

      I’m jealous, Jill. If there were one area I’d love to go deeper it would be web design and graphic design.

  • Today’s lesson was a breath of fresh air for me, Wendy!

    I am most definitely in this “While U Wait” to be represented by an agent and published time period and I am happy to know I am on the right track. I have already been doing everything you mentioned above. :)

    I want to be prepared and not stressed about things I could have planned for before getting published. Reading this to-do list from an experienced literary agent encourages me that I’m taking the right approach on this journey.

    Thank you, thank you! I’m trying to enjoy the waiting time as I pray that God will keep me grounded and focused on the real reason He has called me to write in the first place – to tell His story.

  • Wendy, I envy your childhood in the Mission District! What a wonderful experience. If every you decide to lead a walking tour, count me in! I would love to hear those stories.

    As to what I wish I had learned before my time became filled with the “good” things of publishing, there are a few things:

    1. I wish I had learned the value of reading the classics for the beauty of the storytelling and the craft of the enduring words. I believe writers who are well-versed in the books that have lasted for decades (centuries in some cases), have a head start on learning the essential elements of plot and voice. Sure, popular fiction can teach these things to a novelist, but the value of a classic cannot be underestimated.

    2. I wish I had learned the value of a great filing system and had developed the time management skills that are essential to a publishing career BEFORE I had to put those things into use. A writer who shows up at her desk daily, who has a filing system in place, a calendar waiting…she is so far ahead of the game. I had to learn those things through trial and error–mostly error.

    3. I wish I had taken the time when I first purchased the program to learn Scrivener. Not only does it have some fantastic features, most of which I’ve read about rather than discovered in practice, but once a book is written using that program it can be exported not only into a Word file but also can be uploaded as an ebook with just a few clicks of the mouse. Also, research can be filed easily (see wish #2). I am determined to catch up on this–even took the class last fall (which begins again in a few weeks). However, I’m just not sure I’ve got the time to climb the learning curve while writing under deadline.

    • Oh, how much time could I spend working on organizing my post-its, little bits of paper, business cards, photocopies, to-do lists, napkin notes, and pictures from my children (on which I scribbled an idea)? Kathleen, thanks for your advice.

    • My English Lit teacher spent quite a bit of time expounding on the great stories of the Bible as the basis for much of Western Civilization’s literary masterpieces. It was fun watching him yell “read the entire Bible, you fiends!” to the punk rockers and bikers.

      And yes, organization is so important!!!!

      • Larry says:

        And then, when they took his advice, on the last day of class they stood atop their desks, saying, “O Captain…”

        …..or they rode their motorcycles into the classroom and dragged him away.

        Seriously though, Jennifer, your post still has me laughing! Literally, “lol” is appropriate here! :)

    • Kathleen, thank you for your realistic wish list. As a yet to be published author, this can help me prioritize.

      I’m using Scrivener with my current MS, but there are many facets I have yet to discover.

    • Sarah Thomas says:

      Oooh. Filing system. Yes.

    • Great suggestions, Kathleen! I’m attempting to learn Scrivener and I was wondering if it was worth it. Sounds like a YES.

      And classics? I LOVE classics. I wish I could write like that. But the long descriptions and dialogue tagging in those books just wouldn’t fly today. Sad. Still, the characterizations in some of those (Hardy and Eliot spring to mind) stick with you FOR LIFE.

    • Jeanne T says:

      Kathleen, thanks so much for sharing wisdom from the other side of a signed contract. I definitely have things I can work on–and maybe I need to invest in Scrivener. I love the classics. I think I’ll purpose to read more of them while I have a little more time. :) Thanks!

    • Wendy Lawton Wendy Lawton says:

      Thank you, Kathleen for sharing from the other side of published. Especially since I know what your schedule looks like.

      And yes, Scrivener is another program I’d like to learn. I recently saw a demonstration and it looks fabulous.

  • Julie Sunne says:

    Waiting always has a purpose. Great reminders for taking advantage of the time.

  • So many excellent suggestions, Wendy. I would only add prayer, but I think that’s a given for most of us. “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12) Thanks for the encouragement to keep going.

    • Jan Thompson says:

      That’s the verse I have accompanying my bio on my website! Great minds think alike? It’s the verse I keep in mind when I’m working on WIPs. Not just for word counts, but that my writing days are numbered (in a good way).

    • Wendy Lawton Wendy Lawton says:

      Absolutely. I always smile when people say “at least I can pray.” Least? It’s the most powerful “tool” we have. When we get down to serious praying we ought to be buckling our seat belts and strapping on a safety helmet.

  • Lori says:

    The good thing about not being a “traditionally published author”, is that I can still concentrate on other things like reading books that I normally don’t read, traveling to get a better perspective on what I may want to write about or incorporate into a book, and of course I have been taking online classes in areas (like the Koran) that I don’t have a background in so when I do write I sound like I have a clue what I am writing about.

    • Wendy Lawton Wendy Lawton says:

      And those are things we need to be doing whether we are pre-pub, traditionally pubbed or self-pubbed. Good advice.

  • Love all these “While You Wait” ideas, Wendy. I feel very blessed that I had a great mentor from almost the very beginning. She got me blogging and creating a website years before I had authored a book. It was challenging to find content back then, but now, it’s more me needing time to add the content I have.

    It was also networking with people she knew that led me to my first paid writing gig. I’m still amazed by how small the world of publishing can be. I come across people I know in many different places online.

    What I wished back then, and still, is that I was better about focusing on submissions. I’ve submitted five times and been contracted three. Why am I so hesitant? I also feel like I’ve looked for the opportunities that were safer than those more risky. While I connect with agents at conferences, when they say no, I kind of let it drop until next fall when I attend another conference. Why? [smacks head on desk]

    Thanks for this encouraging and helpful post.

    • Wendy Lawton Wendy Lawton says:

      You are blessed in having a mentor. That would be the ultimate for each of us were it possible.

      And about submitting. . . that’s the hard stuff. We feel so vulnerable.

  • Sarah Thomas says:

    Love all the While-U-Wait thoughts. My challenge is to remember not to let waiting become my focus. While I wait I need to go on dates with my husband, throw myself into my day job, hike, cook, plant flowers, go out with friends, read (for fun–not research), help out at church, pray, meditate, exercise and on and on. It’s very tempting for me to build my life around waiting. I think if I’m waiting correctly, the thing I’m waiting for will almost pop up even before I expect it. Seems like the e-mails I’m most eager to get don’t arrive until the day I’m so engaged in life, I forget to check the in-box.

  • Amanda Dykes says:

    I’m coming to savor the waiting. Truly! Yes, it is hard, but I also cling to the knowledge that God’s timing is perfect and He has as much purpose in the waiting as He does in the hopefully-someday-publication.

    You touched on all of the things I think we can be doing to utilize the waiting time– the only thing I have to add is that for me, the waiting time has also been a refining of my heart. I needed to learn to rest and embrace the waiting.

    Here’s a song I stumbled upon and shared just yesterday on FB, about just this thing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFf-WaFJRTI

  • I love getting my cuppa tea and reading posts on Books & Such. Always informative. And all the comments are delightful and helpful too. Happy Writing everyone!

  • Ah yes, the Mission district. One of our favorite SF traditions is eating Salted Caramel ice cream from Bi-Rite Creamery while lolling about in Mission Dolores Park. Since we live 35 minutes away from the city, this is a regular Saturday routine.

    The excess of verbs above indicate that I should be anything but sedentary as I wait. As we gather to build our reach may we develop and create the right skills to learn and hone our craft so we can meet future deadlines. :-)(I must admit, I feel a little goofy and proud to have used all of the verbs listed.)

  • Larry says:

    Excellent blog today, Wendy! Reminded me of some areas I need to work on, and I’m really interested in everyone here has gone about a few of these steps:

    Gather Your Tribe: What’s this been like for everyone? Do you find that the readers you garner are of a particular personality type? How do you interact with your audience; is there one particular social media method you enjoy the most, such as finding Twitter to be the preferrable method, or do you prefer the conversations from your blog readership? From WHERE did you gather your audience; was it primarily through your blog, readers following you from your presence on other sites like Goodreads, etc. ?

    Build Your Network of Peers: If you are writers of faith, have you found it difficult to connect to writers in your genre? For example, there aren’t too many YA dystopian authors who are willing to show the Light amongst all the darkness in their stories, as I have discovered. Do you primarily stick with authors of faith, authors of the same faith (and faith denomimation) ? If you are a secular writer, do you have writers of faith amongst your writing circle?

    Develop Your Website: What features to your websites do you all find the most innovative, rewarding, and fun for your followers to use?

    • Wendy Lawton Wendy Lawton says:

      You are asking the right questions, Larry.

      Gathering your tribe is a whole lot easier for nonfiction writers than for novelists. Novelists have to dig deep to figure out who their reader is (or will be) and to figure out where those people hang out online.

      • Larry says:

        Indeed! Of course, it is helpful when successful authors have built up readership, and one, who let us say for the sake of discussion has yet to finish his blog / website, is able to poach readers from those social networks!

        Uh, I mean meet the demand of those particular markets….. :)

      • Larry says:

        I hope Gail Collins and Veronica Roth don’t hold grudges….. :)

  • Great advice, Wendy!What an awesome childhood memory.

    How about pray more while you wait? Sometimes writers get caught up in deadlines and time escapes easily.

  • I miss the Mission District although I only lived there for a few years as an adult. But my grandfather grew up there in the 1870s and ’80s and I grew up hearing stories of his childhood and the 1906 earthquake. I’ve tried writing some things based on his stories, but never had them published. Maybe I should go back to them and try again.

    • That would be fascinating!

    • Wendy Lawton Wendy Lawton says:

      The Mission is a tougher place now than it was for your grandfather for sure. When we were kids we felt safe in the neighborhood– who knew? It didn’t seem scary at all. My brother is an expert on San Francisco and his walking tours are amazing. He has written a few books on SF but his San Francisco’s Lost Landmarks is the one that would highlight much of what is no more.

  • Michelle Lim says:

    Wendy, this is such a fun post. I love the whole Zombies thing…someone has been peaking in my windows. LOL!

    I’m waiting for publication on my fiction and I have to admit, patience is not my strong suit. But since I have already exhausted the counting ceiling tile trick, now I really set work deadlines for myself and work on meeting them. This is great practice for when I get to the real fiction publication stage. I also work on nonfiction ideas, or ideas for new books.

    • Wendy Lawton Wendy Lawton says:

      Goodness, Michelle, you are the poster child for making the most of the waiting time. When I think of all you have accomplished. . . *I am not worthy*

  • Hi Wendy,

    I use my waiting time to send irritating update emails to agents and publishers I’m querying. “Hello? This is what I’m doing…what are YOU doing?” Okay – I’ve only done that once or twice (but who’s counting?).

    I decided that while I wait, along with writing, writing, writing (like Heather Gilbert said above), I’m putting my effort into helping others along their journey, too. NOT because it makes me look/sound good, but because 1)I don’t want to do this alone, and 2)isn’t the point of writing to reach out with our stories? I’ve become crit-partners with some fabulous writers, I’ve guest-blogged and had guest-bloggers on my site, I’ve promoted websites I love and learn from, and I’ve stretched outside of the box to connect with people online that may not ever see the reflection of Christ in anyone but me. My ultimate goal in being a writer of fiction is to leave my readers with a taste of the Christ who redeemed me and restored me and took me in when no one else would. If I can introduce that same Jesus to one other person through my words (published or not!) then I am truly a blessed woman.

    I am learning, too, that prayer is patience in action. My life verse: Exodus 14:14 “The Lord will fight your battles for you; all you must do is be still.”

    Wonderful post, Wendy.

    Blessings,
    Becky

    • Hi Becky,
      That verse is AMAZING!!!
      I may frame that.

      Finding the right people to walk the path with me has been one of the biggest God-things in the last year. People so wise and supportive that it seems I’ve known them forever. Having honest and loving crit partners is HUGE!!!

      • Amen, Jennifer. I would be an island of angry birds without my writing partners. I would be lost – think ripped shorts, ratty hair, and no makeup or deodorant. Maybe even a mustache – the beard hasn’t started coming in yet. So who would want to represent THAT??? I NEED my peeps!

    • Wonderful response Becky.I found myself wanting to stand up from my desk and applaud. :-) Our writing is a reflection of God’s redeeming power to a watching world.

      • Jenni,

        Yes! I just watched a brilliant talk with Eugene Peterson talking about writing and the importance of fiction that reflects Christ, in particular. How important it IS that we represent THE WAY to a world that’s so lost, and often the only way we can do it is to tell stories.

        I’m hopping over to your site now!

        Blessings,
        Becky

    • Wendy Lawton Wendy Lawton says:

      Irritating update emails are good. :-)

      I love that as you reach up, you are reaching back to help others attaine their goals as well.

    • Yes, the writing support peeps are PRICELESS! Worth every minute of the wait!!!

  • Ah, Wendy, the Mission District, San Francisco. What a charmed childhood and creative background for a budding writer!

    My hubby and I honeymooned in SF at the Seal Rock Inn. And childhood dinners at Blums with my father are a treasured memory.

    Amen, Amanda! All in God’s timing.

    I am presently tearing apart my current website that I pioneered and working with a lovely tech genius to create a new look. Praise God for the gifted who share their talents. It is a training workshop for me, growing my current skills.

    And I write, rewrite, and write, rewrite…
    I’m putting the finishing polish on my revamped marketing sheet and dear Wendy you will be receiving a new 2013 presentation of my first novel and the first half of my second book which is turning out quite different.
    And I am excited, my goal is next week!

    As for the working in the office at home, the advantages of tossing in a load of laundry and running the vacuum during breaks to exercise these sedentary legs, is a blessing.
    The disadvantages ~ my hubby works at the Cal Fire Academy up the street and down the hill, oh so close that I am on call for every little forgotten errand. My college student thinks on the same line. My dogs sit at my feet or on the sofa and just watch me. It could be worse.

    Two things prevail ~ my parents words ring in my ears, “Always do your best, Kathy. Work hard and be grateful for the work.”

    The verse at my desk is a daily reminder ~
    Commit thy works unto the Lord and thy thoughts shall be established. Proverbs 16:3
    My boss is always watching me and He blessed me with an agent that is an answer to years of prayer, while I was waiting.

    • Wendy Lawton Wendy Lawton says:

      “Good stuff, Kathy,” she says as she clears a space on her desk for all the good stuff slated to come in next week.

  • Rick Johnson says:

    Thanks to all for the wonderful comments and ideas. While waiting I like to create the characters in my mind for not the next book, but the book after that.

  • Hi Wendy,

    I needed this post today. My husband tells me periodically this is the best time of my writing life because I don’t have deadlines. It’s good to hear from somebody besides him.

    Can our blog be a feel good place to stop by? One of my favorite blogs is House of Turquoise and it makes me feel good to see how people decorate with the color turquoise.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Wendy Lawton Wendy Lawton says:

      Isn’t it funny how we have found “blog homes” online just like our favorite places in town? Forget the famed author hangouts like the Algonquin in NYC– the twenty-first century author hangouts are online.

  • I just went to a new doctor today. This is one of those instances where I bring my briefcase filled with stuff to do AND books to read. First, I’m not sure how to get there, so I leave early—just in case. Then, not knowing the doctor’s normal rhythm (fashionably late or fastidiously early) I want to be prepared for potential lag time.
    As I think about it, the things in my briefcase are the same things I use to wait on publication. Fiction—which helps me keep up with the market and spurs creative ideas. Non-fiction—which helps me understand the struggles of the common man today. A list of blog topics to write about and lots of blank, notebook space. And notes and ideas for my local writers’ group.
    I’m not usually a patient person, but now that I know how to fill my time on-the-go, it helps in the waiting.

    • Wendy Lawton Wendy Lawton says:

      I know. With my Mini iPad and iPhone in my purse, I have my office wherever I go. It makes waiting productive.

  • Donnie promised me a long time ago he would teach me how to play Mahjong but he is so busy writing his middle grade novel for boys (A Boy and his Creature) that he just keeps putting it off.

    Please. Do you ladies know anyone who can teach me how to play?

  • Leanne Stowers says:

    I’ve been building a fan base, honing the craft, researching the industry, trying to read Create Your Writer Platform while taking care of 2 kids, a house, a husband and sometimes myself.

    • Wendy Lawton Wendy Lawton says:

      It’s a snap, right? (Doesn’t it make you wonder why you couldn’t have been called to something easier, like rocket science?)

  • Like Kathryn, I am doing webinars and reading and trying to learn as much as I can about the business of writing and how to improve my craft. I had hoped to start an MFA program in Creative Writing this January, but a tuition issue has temporarily derailed that. Hopefully, if God says the same, I will start either in the Fall or next Spring.

    I’m still feeling my way through using social media effectively, so it’s actually probably a good thing that the book isn’t coming out next week.

    Also, while I’m waiting to get my first book published, I am working out the plot for book two and brainstorming ideas for book three. My plan is that, once the first book is going through the query process, I will be actively working on getting the next book finished.

    Have a great Tuesday, Wendy! Blessings everyone! )

    • Wendy Lawton Wendy Lawton says:

      If it makes you feel any better, the jury’s out on the value of an MFA in writing for the writer who longs to write commercial fiction (meaning books that sell) . Too many MFA writing programs stress literary fiction (meaning books that don’t sell).

      I like that you are multi-tasking on the book process– plotting, brainstorming, writing, querying– that kind of multi-directional focus is exactly what you will juggle after publication.

      • Thank you, Wendy. I had been so excited about the MFA and thought I had everything in place when I got knocked off balance by being told that the tuition was going to be three times what I had originally been told. Of course, it’s all in God’s hands, so I’m doing what I can, but the rest is up to Him. If it doesn’t work out, then He has a better idea for me. I appreciate your telling me it’s not essential. I just want to keep improving my writing skills.

        The multitasking is actually easier than I would have expected. The idea for the second book came out of writing this one since I have had to create a world and social system for the fantasy novel and have had to get to know more about the background of some characters than I’ll be able to put in the book. There is one character who’s story I know I want to tell, and fortunately, my critique partners and beta readers have given me feedback that they really like her–and they don’t know that I am planning to make her the main character in the next book. So that was affirming.

        Blessings!

      • Larry says:

        “Too many MFA writing programs stress literary fiction (meaning books that don’t sell).”

        Indeed! One would think that if one is paying thousands of dollars to become certified “masters” of the fine arts, that they would learn how to write a story that has innovative, well-crafted use of story and characters……that also doesn’t make the reader want to fall asleep!

        The value of the contemporary usage of the word “literary” when applied to modern novels eludes me…….

        …….as it does the authors of those novels. ;)

  • marta chausee says:

    I wasn’t pleased with the proposed cover art so I went to town “creating” something I felt was more representative of my book, even coming up with a logo.

    In the end, my publisher didn’t use my suggestions for technical reasons, but i think we both felt more collaborative and happy with the final cover art.

    The book is released later this month. Check out the cover (and the insides)!

    Murder’s Last Resort
    Oak Tree Press

    Thanx for your positive article and good suggestions.

    Marta Chausée

  • David Todd says:

    Research, research, research! Gather references and read them. Read copiously in the library, be it physical or on-line. Read similar books in the genre.

  • Elaine Faber says:

    Lots of good ideas. Waiting to be published the FIRST time is even harder. Like, how to create a social frenzy with potential readers when I haven’t anything in print to read yet? And how do you start a blog when no one knows you exist? So I guess I’ll start, as you all so expertly suggest, to be a reader of other blogs and see what it’s all about. Maybe I’ll become a famous commentator! So how bout’ them RED SOX? Thanks for the expert advice from each who shared various suggestions. I’ll look into all of it.

  • Peter DeHaan says:

    You can always start working on your next book!

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