Instant Pudding, Instant Oatmeal, Instant Writing?

Hey all, this is something that’s been burdening me for quite a while. Here in America, everything is instant or close to it, and if it isn’t, well then we’re pretty stinking unhappy. For example, you’re driving down the road, minding your own business, when the light ahead of you turns yellow. Maybe you try to rush it, maybe you sigh and slow down, but either way you hit the red light. Now you’re stuck sitting there at a red light, doing nothing. The other way gets a green, and all the cars go through…but they still have a green. Fifteen seconds later, they still have a green for crying out loud! Finally they get a red, and the left turn next to you gets a green, even though there’s no one there. Don’t these lights realize you’re on a mission of great importance?? Where’s the green light?! Now you get a green light, and roar off to the next light. Kinda extreme?
What about speeding? What’s the difference of 5mph over the speed limit anyway? The officers usually won’t tag you for it, so why not go…just a little bit faster? After all, you’re a little behind, and speeding will get you there 30 seconds faster, and those 30 seconds make a huge difference. (The average cruising speed on the Interstate tends to be 5mph over the limit in the middle lane [at least where I’m at or so I’ve noticed]; you don’t want to know about the left lane. The right lane varies too much.)
Ok, what about food? I mean, c’mon, that’s half my title and who doesn’t love food? 😉 We’ve got the examples above, instant pudding, instant oatmeal, really, there isn’t much you can’t find instant or close to it. We tend to get things in mixes, frozen, refrigerated, or those heart-attack favorites of ours that come in paper bags and boxes from the drive thru and those pizza places. ;D Most pizza delivery places have compensation in the way of free food if their delivery time is over 20 minutes since the time of ordering. That’s really not much time. If you sit in the drive thru for more than three minutes, you gotta wonder if someone accidentally dropped all the fries and got rid of the cheese.
Those 5-minute devotions seem highly popular, and most people would choke at thinking of praying for 30 minutes. That’s truly messed up.
We as a nation are highly impatient. We’ve lost the art of true patience I believe. (And I’m not talking as a third party observer here, I’m guilty as much as the rest and probably more.) This leads for some false expectations in every area, I think. There’s the spiritual area, the relationship area, and as this is a writing blog, I’m going to talk about the false expectations in the writing business.

(Sorry about the long introduction. Ok, not really, but hey, I had to test your patience somehow! 😛 😉
Here I’m talking to all of you new and pre-published authors out there. It seems that many of us have this false expectation that the writing process will be pretty easy, and definitely not extremely time consuming, especially not 2 years or so.
Ok, you’ve got a new manuscript, [that’s what the book industry calls those 350-pages of your amazing novel] you’ve just finished writing it and are quite pleased with yourself. And why shouldn’t you be? You just wrote 100,000 pages! For me as a beginning author, I had thought the hard part was over. A good phrase here would be from a new song by the (supposedly Christian) rock band 12 Stones, from their new single “We Are One”… “The only easy day was yesterday.” When I was first writing, I had no idea of all the work involved. Really, this should encourage you. After all, if the only easy day was yesterday, and yesterday was pretty hard, you should have built up the stamina for the next day so that you can grow some more. 😀 Because that’s really what the writing process is. It’s a place to grow, or not, a proving ground.
You see, after you write those hundreds of pages, you have a good amount of work ahead of you. The worst thing you can do here is run off looking for a publisher. (I did that light heartedly and wasted a good year where I could have been improving.) Instead, you should edit your novel. Now that the entire thing is down on paper, write out a plot for it (if you haven’t already) and figure out the important characters and how the other characters affect them. Then, you need to go back and edit. Knock out all those unneeded scenes, and try to make sure everything is tied together quite well. Of course, as a new author, it’s going to be hard to do that effectively.
The truth is, when you first start out writing, you may be sure that you know a good chunk about the art and skill of writing, but in reality, you can always learn. Truthfully, all the stuff you know is probably only a ¼ of what you need to know.
So now what you’ll need to do is find a critique group to critique parts (or maybe, rarely, the whole thing) and point out aspects you need to work on in your writing.
Then, after you edit according to their suggestions, you can worry about starting to find a publisher. There is actually more than one way to get published, believe it or not, and it involves a lot of rejection letters normally.
After you find a publisher, you have to sign the contract and work with them, and let’s not forget promoting your book!

What’s the point? The writing process is a very long process that involves a whole lot of learning. (Thought you left all that back at school? Too bad, boy! That’s one of the biggest scams life has! Life is full of learning and relationships.) That’s not where I’ll end though, cause that’s rather discouraging, which is the total opposite effect of what I want. No, here is where I encourage you! 🙂 You may feel like you’re stuck in the process, or it’s eating you as a midnight snack, but have patience. Publishing a novel can take years. So take heart. Arm yourself better by learning the tools of the trade, critiquing others’ work, working on your own, and of course, reading and writing! 😀

[quick disclaimer: before you refuse to waste another moment and correct me this very second, I do not believe that all people are impatient, just that it seems most of us struggle with that. :P]

This is SciF1Author, signing off. God bless. For Him!

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About Nathanael Scott

Nathanael Scott has been an enthusiastic reader of a variety of genres for as far back as he can remember, his favorite being science fiction. He uses writing to let loose his imagination in a way that glorifies God and benefits others. If you can’t get hold of him, he’s probably in outer space piloting a starfighter on a mission to save your life. He is the author of Though Storms May Rage, a sci-fi novel that is currently in revision.
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One Response to Instant Pudding, Instant Oatmeal, Instant Writing?

  1. Goldarrow says:

    I thought of this post on Sunday when the teacher asked who had gone over the speed limit, me hand was the first up. I speed, I find it does save time. But should I? The answer is no, and I know there are no buts about it but… If I lived in Texas where the speed limit is 80 I wouldn’t speed, why do I have to go 55 here but can go 80 there? And the cops know 5 miles over is the unwritten speed limit. I guess that shows how strong sin is. Ugh me posting here is going to make me feel guilty next time I drive.

    Also here is an award if you want it
    http://arrowheadreviews.blogspot.com/2011/04/something-new.html

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