Don’t Play the Waiting Game!

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“The professional, on the other hand, understands delayed gratification.” –Steven Pressfield

An annoying thing about being a writer is that sometimes you have to play a waiting game. I’m just finding this out. However, that’s not productive. So what do you do while you’re waiting on other people to do their magic with your manuscript?

In December, I finished the rough draft of my first novel. I spent January, February, March and part of April revising and self-editing it. Then I asked friends to read it to point out plot holes, and places where the story was confusing. My sisters and a friend in my writer’s group are the only ones who finished the entire manuscript, and gave me feedback. I’m still waiting on my other friends to get back to me.

I understand people are busy. The thing is, I want to complete as many revisions as possible before sending it off to an editor. I’ll have to pay her to help me polish the manuscript. The less work my editor has to do, the less I will pay her. Not to mention, after that’s finished, there are other steps that will need to be completed, before my book will be ready to publish. Needless to say, I’m feeling anxious.

For a while I was sitting around twiddling my thumbs feeling annoyed. Then one day I remembered a story from Steven Pressfield’s book The War of Art. When he finished the manuscript for his first novel, he went to see his mentor to tell him the good news. His mentor congratulated him, then told him to go begin his next novel that very day. What great advice! I stopped twiddling and began writing my next novel. It’s a sequel to the first.

Another part of the creative process that I’ve been resisting is networking for promotion and marketing purposes. The new fashionable word is “Branding”. This is an area which makes my stomach clench. I know virtually nothing about marketing and promotion. I was waiting to begin this process until my novel was ready to publish. But, that’s not a good time to work on growing my network. I don’t claim to be any good at this, but I have done some things to help expand the group of people who will be informed when my book is ready for them to purchase.

Some time back, I joined Goodreads. Goodreads is a social network for readers and authors. It’s a fun group of people. You can find out about new books coming out, and read reviews by other readers. There are groups to join, and you can follow Goodreads authors to communicate with them, and be notified when their next book is coming out. I’m fortunate because I published a children’s book about three years ago, so I signed up to be a Goodreads author.

Little-by-little I’m growing my friend and follower lists on all the social networking sites to which I belong. It’s only been a week or so since I decided to put time into posting little teasers about my book. Yet, I’m having fun doing it, and that’s something I never thought I’d say about marketing and promotion.

Another site I found through WordPress to help me build a network is a free promotion site, called CoPromote. Members can earn Karma Cash by promoting the work of other people. On this site you create a network of people who are doing similar things to you. I love that it’s free, and that it has sent new followers to my Facebook writer’s page and to my blog. Slowly my network is growing.

If you’re creative, and there are times when you have to wait on other people to finish your project, don’t waste that time. Begin your next project, make connections with other artists, and buyers. Every little thing you do to get your name out into the world is a step in the right direction. Just like every piece of art you create, helps you become a better artist.

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