So we're nearly at that time again folks. That time where I basically disappear into the void that is Mission Weeks and will be surrounded by teenagers and sleep deprived youth leaders and general insanity for six weeks. Last year, I essentially didn't return to website related stuff until...what, ten months later? Let's try to do better this year, shall we?
How am I feeling about it? Aside from having 3 to-do lists related to work stuff and a story that keeps rampaging through my mind at nearly every turn, I'm doing well. Oh, you mean you want me to include that stuff? Well, in that case, I'm stressed. Lord willing, I won't drop any of the many items I'm responsible for in the next two weeks (which, honestly, doesn't look promising).
However, tonight I spent an hour talking with a friend of mine from college. I had, in passing, made a comment about a major event in book 4 that is likely changing. Which she latched onto and wanted to know about. See, I'm SUPREMELY blessed to have the friends I have. I legitimately have people who might not be writers, but they're avid readers and they happened to love the crazy world I'm writing. So they'll let me rant and rave and go on these long-winded talks about story and characters and world elements and histories and just about anything you could imagine. This isn't a joke: I once stayed up until three am with one of my friends and had all of these story ideas scribbled out on a white board and we talked through all of these plot points and story elements.
That hour long talk was an incredible blessing for me. Because amid all of the chaos of trying to ensure all the "ducks are in a row" for camp and my departure from the day-to-day for a while, it let me disconnect from stuff I'd been up to my eyeballs in for the last four days and just have a bit of time to unload some story stuff on someone and get feedback. And boy oh boy, did she give great feedback. I had the chance to work through elements of the story that I've been mulling over for a while and have only been able to talk through once with another friend about a year ago.
She also did a phenomenal job of reminding me of something. She said, "I know how frustrating this has been, that you've been wondering what God is doing and why you keep getting bits and pieces of the story and how long it's taking. But it's also kinda awesome. The way you talk about it, it's like God is just unfolding a story before you, revealing more of it to you over time. And everything you're doing, it's just giving it so much more depth. And I think, I know it probably doesn't help much, but I'm super excited to see where the story goes and am really enjoying what you're planning."
Sometimes, we as writers (and even people in the publishing world), see a writer and say "What do you mean you've been working on this story for ten years? Is there anything that can be done to help you get it published sooner?" Like, somehow we expect ourselves to just have a story plop into a perfect manuscript form and have no issues with developing the story. And sometimes, hey living proof here, our talent and vision aren't yet in line. The time spent between middle school and now has garnered a stronger story, deeper world, and better characters.
That doesn't mean I'm patient. I've had a fair number of temper-tantrums, screaming to the sky the question of, "When will then be now?" And the year leading up to my 30th birthday was undoubtedly the hardest in this line of frustration, since to me, I felt as though I were aimless and had nothing the world said I should have by that point. But, by going through that period of confusion and general anger, I've once again settled into the "I'm happy time has passed and I've had the chance to develop the story more" state of mind.
So, fellow aspiring authors, remember that just because some people get published quickly doesn't mean you need to be published quickly. Sometimes the situations surrounding our story's development are our own fault, no doubt, whether by us just being lazy or generally allowing our fear of rejection to override the story inside us. But, then there are times where you're doing your best. You're writing and your developing the story and you're brainstorming and world building and being critical of your story. And you aren't getting published. Our timing isn't perfect. Our timing is usually rushed and forced. When the time comes, when you meet the right publisher, the right editor, the right illustrator, all of that waiting will make you more ready than if you had been published in your own time.