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A week in slow motion


Election Tuesday, for me, dragged on and on and on. I’m usually pretty good at keeping myself busy. As I mentioned in my last post, my mother has read four or five books a week since COVID isolation began. (Be nice to my mother. We need readers like her.) I haven’t been that voracious, but I’ve read a few –– I’m enjoying Megan Abbott’s YOU WILL KNOW ME and Adam O’Fallon Price’s HOTEL NEVERSINK –– and I’ve lost 40 pounds since COVID began.


But Tuesday didn’t feel like a productive day. Taught two classes over ZOOM. Met with students. Lots of pacing.


And the more I thought about it, the more I thought that is what most writers do, isn’t it? Pace?


In actuality, the waiting keeps us going.


Wait for the next idea or story to emerge. Wait for the rejection. No, the acceptance. But still waiting. Waiting is part of this game we all long ago decided to enter and to which we have dedicated blood, sweat, bourbon, and tears. And what to do while we wait? Write the one that shows up, even if it’s not the one you hoped for. There really is no other answer.


And for that reason, a frustration I’ve always had about this business is that so much of what happens is out of my hands. An agent pitches your book. A publisher decides whether or not to read it based on the agent’s pitch. It’s a product-based business that only tangentially revolves around the product.


“Your previous sales numbers aren’t good.”

“Okay, but do you like the new book?”

“Your previous sales numbers aren’t good.”


You can’t wait for sales numbers to change. You write the one that shows up. So Tuesday, if nothing else, I wrote a few pages –– and paced long into the night, waiting.



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