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  • Writer's pictureKatie Zdybel

the art & craft of waiting

Updated: Mar 27, 2022

So, turns out, a lot of writing is about waiting. Most of writing is about writing—you sit down and write and rewrite and rewrite. But then, once it's finally done, you send it out and then you wait.

Right now, all at once I'm in several stages of writing for several different projects. I took the spring and summer off from my job as editor with the (shout out!) fantastic editing company Darling Axe to finish a novel. Good news: I finished the novel! And surprise bonus good news: I finished a second one, too.

This was not my plan, but I found that as I drafted novel A, I would sometimes reach a point where I need to step back from the manuscript and let it breathe; I had to wait for myself to forget what I knew about the story so I could return to it with fresh eyes. I began writing a short story during that waiting period, but pretty quickly I realized the short story could not be contained. It wanted much more space and it wanted to be written swiftly. After a couple weeks or a couple months of turning to novel B, I suddenly felt I needed to step back and wait for the dough to rise. Back to novel A. The system seemed to work well for me as by the end of 6 months, I had two polished and complete novel manuscripts.

But now I'm back to more waiting. Because after you complete a piece—whether that's a novel, a poem, an essay, or a short story—you then need other people to live with it and tell you if what you wrote resembles what you think it resembles. If it lands on its feet, if it sings or dances or stumbles, flails. You send it out thinking, I'm pretty sure I planted a dahlia, but let me know what you think. And all you hope for is that the response is: not a dahlia, but still pretty beautiful. (As opposed to, I'm pretty sure you planted a rock.)

So I'm waiting. I'm waiting for a beta reader to read novel A, waiting for my agent to read novel B—and for my writing group members to read a new short story I started working on while I wait.

I am also waiting for my first book to come out! Cue trumpet sound: Equipoise will be released Oct. 15. It was originally supposed to come out in July, but due to a Covid-related paper shortage (is there a facet of life Covid has not touched with its long, wispy tendrils?), it was pushed back twice. So that's been a long wait. But worth it. I am so excited to see my book on a shelf in a bookstore, or maybe even a window. I'm mostly just excited for people to read my writing. I hope you will.


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