Ahhh, the pain of writing.
I think if you asked any writer what they dislike most about writing, they would tell you that it's the waiting. Publishing is a very, very s-l-o-w business. Remember when you were a child and summer seemed to last forever? Yep, that's what I'm talking about- minus all of the fun.
I've made a list of the process. Kinda.
But before we get to the list, you know of course that all writing begins with an idea. This idea will occur at the most inopportune time. Sitting on the toilet? Idea time! Grocery shopping with a screaming toddler? Idea time! Having a baby? Well, you get the idea. It will be the only FAST thing that will happen to you during the whole process. If you are an experienced writer, you will grab anything you can use to write that idea down. Crayons, markers, ketchup, a tube of mustard- anything. You will shout, "shhshhshhshhshhshh" at your bewildered children because the mere thought of another word entering your brain will squash the idea. You know better than to tell yourself that you will remember it later. It just ain't happening, sunshine. Write that sucker down as fast as you can on scrap paper, a napkin, the back of your baby's head. Just get it down because that idea will be gone in exactly 10 seconds and you will NEVER be able to remember it again. EVER.
Once you have your idea, you will then begin the process...
THE 37 STEPS OF THE WRITING PROCESS ACCORDING TO THOSE OF US WHO ARE PRE-PUBLISHED (AKA UN-PUBLISHED)
1.) You will write your first draft.
2.) You will revise your first draft.
3.) You will revise draft #3
4.) You will revise draft #4
5.) You will revise drafts # 5 through # 844
6.) You will get stuck on that draft and put it away for a while.
7.) You will remember that draft after getting stuck on another draft.
8.) You will decide you really like it and revise that draft again.
9.) Each of your critique partners will look at that draft.
10.) You will post on a social networking forum that you are willing to swap anything, including your children, for a "fresh pair of eyes" to look at that manuscript.
11.) You will hire a professional to edit that manuscript.
12.) Based on the feedback, you will revise that manuscript.
13.) You will repeat numbers 3-9
14) Your critique group members will tell you that it's ready to send "out on submission."
15.) You will secretly wonder if they really feel it's ready or if they are just sick of looking at that manuscript.
16.) You will hate that manuscript.
17.) You will love that manuscript.
18.) You will learn more about some agents than some of your family members. You will feel like a stalker.
19.) You will worry about your mental health.
20.) You will submit your manuscript and then immediately research the typical response times for that agent or editor.
21.) You will discuss on a social forum said response time.
22.) You will do math calculations that you never dreamed possible to get an accurate time frame.
23.) You will be wrong. It will take twice as long.
24.) You will convince yourself that your submission was lost. You will debate whether to resend. You will ask everyone you know for their opinion, including the lady who works at Starbucks.
25.) You will get rejections.
26) You will get more rejections.
27.) You will google, "How many rejections did __________ get before they were signed"
28.) You will check your spam folder and refresh your email 10,000 times a day.
29.) You will buy every book that lists agents and editors and every "how to write a book", book. You will read them a million times.
30.) You will count the days until the SCBWI conference.
31.) If you don't go to the NY or LA conference you will cry and whine and follow on Twitter, drunk.
32.) You will go to bookstores and drool at the shelves.
33.) You will join 12x12, PiBoIdMo, WOWnonficpic and every possible online group that will "challenge you" to write a manuscript in a day, in an hour, or a minute.
34.) You will quickly learn what "Pitchmad" is. You will participate and sweat like it's the friggin' Olympics. You will, of course, be sitting on your couch.
35.) You will lose hope.
36) Your writer friends will give you back hope.
37.) And then someday, someone will say, "YES" to you. You will dance like Snoopy.
And you will start it all over again, because you love nothing more than writing.
If you saw yourself in at least one of these, you're not alone.
You're a writer.