Once in a while, I see where someone has posted on Facebook or  in a blog: “Guess it’s time to start on that book!” All I can say is: I hope you have lots of time!

One thing I didn’t realize before setting out on the road of traditional publishing is how glacially slow it is. As an example, with the Geography of Water:

  • First submittal was in fall of 2012
  • Contract signed in fall of 2014
  • Publishing was in the fall of 2015.

Along the way there was: work with a developmental editor, revisions after two Press readers gave input, review and approval by the Board. 

People always ask me how long the book took to write. I sometimes say five years, but that’s a bit misleading. I did write the first chapter five years ago, but there were months (years?) when nothing was written at all. If I added up all the months I sat behind a keyboard, not including revision, the total writing time for the book was probably less than a year.

My second book has been with my agent since May. She just now started submitting it in October. As she told me, she needs to block out time to really focus on one work, and “this is your time.” I haven’t heard back from her yet, but editors need to read the ms, their board needs to read it..it’s a long, long process. 

What to do if patience is not a virtue of yours? Start on your next book! That’s what I’m doing. Right now I am in the floundering stage. (Ugh! This is awful! Hey! What about this! Ugh…and so on.)

Yes, I do wish I had started on this earlier in life. But would I have given up my years of wilderness rangering, or fighting fire, or traveling? No. No. No. To quote an over-used saying: “It’s a marathon, not a sprint.” If you’ve ever run a marathon, you know there are times, right about mile 16, when you need to settle in for the long haul. The people who sprint past you are the ones who will be walking later on. 

Think Grand Canyon, people.