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You won't believe this real secret of writers...

So, I'm going to share a trade secret. It's not one people often talk about but, once you grasp it, you are initiated into the secret club of 'real' writers. Are you ready? Are you sure? You wouldn't like a sit down and a cappuccino first? No? OK. Well, the truth is that working as a writer is not about creative exuberance, maybe not even about editorial competence no, it is, wait for it... X factor drum roll... pregnant pause... sonorous voice over... it is all about ...

waiting.

If you find waiting a trial, you are in for a life sentence of almost permanent discomfort. Whether you write like a maniac in the white heat of creative passion or slowly painfully grind your words out in a relentless progression of perfect sentences, it makes no difference. You angst over your prose, your plot, your pitch. You edit and, if you are serious, re -edit. You worry at your text, maybe you worry about the market. You panic about both then perfect your precious story. In a state of high anxiety, at once hopeful and pessimistic, excited and terrified, you send it off to an agent, a publisher, or perhaps a competition. Your heart is in your mouth. You are actually trembling. Yay, it's gone! Oh my God, it's gone and now it's too late!

You check that the mss has actually sent, that it's gone to the right address. You check your email outbox, then your inbox, then your email outbox again.

And nothing happens.

Literally nothing. You have no fingernails left. You lurch between fevered fantasies of feted international success (the interviews! The sales! The book signings!) and despair (you are a hack, a fraud, a talentless time-waster.)

And nothing happens.

You spend months caught like an ant glued to a super ball ( it could happen) You're up, then you're down. Whoa! now your'e up again! You haven't been rejected yet so there is still hope, right? That fevered fantasy might still fly. But then if you are going to be rejected, bring it on, deal with it and move on.

And nothing happens.

Your emotions oscillate between hope and despair. You vacillate between chasing the agent/publisher/competition runner and playing it cool. Let them come to you.

And still nothing happens.

All I can say is that you have to learn to wait. This is harder for some of us than others. I am so impatient I won't wait for a bus, I'd rather walk ( in the rain) I'll abandon my shopping rather than queue to pay and I'll drink lukewarm soup rather than wait for it to heat through. I am constitutionally ill disposed to waiting. I deal with it so badly I funnel all my imaginative energy, all my will power, into pretending that I've forgotten that I am waiting at all.

No, I'm not waiting for anything. What gave you that idea? I'm writing another novel. Yes, it's going really well actually. Thanks for asking.

And still nothing happens...

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