My first novel took ten years to write. (If you’ve been around this blog long enough, you’ve “heard” me say that a thousand times.) Recently, I wrote my favorite manuscript (thus far) in two months—from October to December. To be honest, I didn’t know what I was doing with the first manuscript, AND it was ninety-thousand words. This last manuscript logged in at fifty-thousand words. But if you do the math, you’ll see I would’ve reached the ninety-thousand-word mark well before ten years with this one. (I’d hope so, right?)

My point is, writing does get easier with time. My question is, just how much easier?

How many quality manuscripts can I put out each year? The key word is quality. I know I can write, and I can write fast, but I also know if I’m not careful a story can fall apart in the middle. It’s not okay with me to have a strong start, a strong end and a crappy in-between. For me, keeping the middle humming is a chore. I suspect a lot of writers are like this. Critique partners, beta readers and editors help, but it’d save me so much time if I could get it right the first time through. And that takes time.

While I’m perfectly capable of writing a category-length manuscript in two months, that’s not a given, and it doesn’t mean I can write six manuscripts a year, especially if my manuscripts are selling. They don’t stay as-is for long after signing the contract. I have to factor in edits for contracted manuscripts while I’m writing the next book in a series, while I’m plotting my next brand new idea, while I’m waiting to hear back on submissions I sent out into the scary publishing world. It’s…chaotic.

Of course, it’s great fun, too.

Writing is a learning process, not just craft but also execution. More often than not, there is no answer to the burning questions, like how long does it take to write a book and how many books can be written in one year? We just have to jump in, give it a go, see what happens, and try to keep our heart rates normal while we’re panicking. 🙂



Anyone who has ever submitted a manuscript for publication knows that this business is ALL about waiting. You submit. You wait. And wait. And wait. Should your manuscript get an offer then you wait and wait and wait even longer for your manuscript to become a book.

People will tell you to keep writing while you wait, and you should. I always do, but that doesn’t mean I have forgotten about the fact that I am waiting to hear back on something else.

I have a sub that’s been out for seventeen weeks and counting now. I’m not sure there’s been a day where I didn’t spend at least some time obsessing, holding my breath as I checked email, searching for any signs of when I might hear. I have alternately convinced myself my manuscript has been rejected, accepted, or lost. I have wished away weekends because responses aren’t sent on weekends. In short, this submission has consumed me just a little bit.

I wish it was a switch I could turn off, but my brain just works this way. Patience is not my virtue and let’s face it, as writers, we have over active imaginations. We’re always thinking “what if?”

One thing that has helped the tiniest bit was a piece of “advice” I recently read on a message board. In regards to waits the poster said basically short wait time or long wait time tells you nothing. Having not heard back just means you haven’t heard back. There’s no secret formula to tell you what the outcome is going to be until the outcome… Comes out.

I try to repeat this to myself when I’m spending too much time on Twitter or message boards. I’m not done obsessing, but my obsession is WHEN I will hear, not WHAT I will hear. I can’t predict the publisher or agent’s answer, there is no secret formula. What if-ing the outcome to death doesn’t do anything productive.

So, I’ll still check my email a zillion times per day, but I won’t be reading into the wait.

Ok, I’ll try not to anyway.