If I can’t have you right now, I’ll wait, dear

All we need is just a little patience,” is how Guns ‘n’ Roses put it. Assuming we can ignore Axl’s faintly misogynist possessiveness for a moment, they had a point.

Art takes time.

Don't rush it

Don’t rush it

I decided to start taking myself a bit more seriously [1] as a writer back in the middle of 2012. I began writing a short story that would later become a twice-revised-and-still-not-finished novel. When I abandoned that story, I broke with my usual pattern by starting another story immediately.

It was pretty terrible, but I timidly offered it up to a critiquing group with a hopeful air: I didn’t know what to do with it to make it work, but maybe somebody else did. And to my immense relief, they tore it to shreds, pulled the still-beating heart from it, and showed me what I needed to do to make a satisfying story from the string of incidents I started with.

I duly rewrote and rewrote the story, and when I thought it was good enough, I sent it out on submission.

It was rejected, of course.

I sent it out again. Rejected again – this time in two days.

I sent it out a third time. This time it was shortlisted, held for consideration for four months and finally – rejected.

Another eight months and about a dozen rejections passed. On the verge of deciding to give up on the story and retire it, I got another request to hold.

I held my breath (figuratively). Then came the “We would like to publish the story” acceptance letter. Woohoo! There was the small matter of figuring out where the story would fit in the publication schedule but an acceptance is an acceptance. Naturally I agreed.

That was a little over three years ago. If all goes to plan, the story will be published in early 2017.

Since finishing the story I’ve written about two dozen other short stories, a couple of novellas and about three novel drafts. I’ve even had a few sales.

During the whole time, I’ve watched the story’s ultra-slowmo publication process out of the corner of my eye. There have been delays: printing problems, shipping SNAFUs, editorial shifts, rumours of cancellation. The saga of getting that story out into the world has been the drawn-out Inception-style soundtrack playing over the training montage of my writing development for nearly five years.

And soon it will be out.

Don’t get me wrong – I am not remotely bitter about the wait. I am utterly delighted that the story will finally see print

But anyone who thinks that writing is a fast-track to any kind of success – or even a fast track full stop – might just be kidding themselves. Perseverance is what counts.

Said sugar, take the time, cause the lights are shining bright
You and I got what it takes to make it.


Bonus content: I never get tired of referring new readers to my friend Andrea Host‘s long-form nightmare tale of her manuscript’s languish in slushpile hell, which is a true story: The Glacier. Read it – it casts my mild inconvenience into the shade.

[1] Okay, maybe more accurate to say “a little less casually”.



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2 Responses to If I can’t have you right now, I’ll wait, dear

  1. Dr Clam says:

    I bet this is the first time Andrea has been tagged next to ‘Guns and Roses’. (I should google it first, I suppose – there may be several thriving ‘influence of Guns and Roses on the Setari Weltanschauung‘ threads out there).
    Speaking of slow things and also writing things, I don’t know if anyone of your acquaintance has an interest in Narnia fan-fiction, but my long serialisation experiment has recently finished: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/9506353/1/Bride-of-Tash

  2. Lexifab says:

    I feel confident you are correct 🙂

    I didn’t know you were writing Narnia fanfic! I will add it to my ridiculously long reading queue!

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