Monday, September 16, 2013

Wait for it

There's no arguing about it, we live in an immediate society.  With texting, cellhones, ebooks, music downloads we can have what we want when we want it.  Which is now.  See, I just downloaded a book while writing that sentence.  No one wants to wait anymore, and I think that impatience is affecting the way we write and read books.

I've been seeing more and more people, whether it's a reader waiting for the next book in a series or a writer wanting to release a book, that would prefer a sub-par now, rahter then to have to wait for it.

I see the pressure this puts on authors.  I've even seen authors that believe if they don't put out two books a year they will never succeed.  Two books a year is crazy!  Very few people (none that I know of but I won't rule it out completely) can write that much that fast and still write really well.  If authors give in to this 'have it now' mentality are we creating a world with lower expectations?  Or is it the readers lower expectations that are pressuring the author to do less than their best. 

It's kind of like McDonald's vs gourmet.  Some people like it fast and cheap, some only want quality.  I guess most of us have times for one and times for another. But what kind of world do we want for our books?  And what kind of books do you want as a reader?

As a reader, I would rather wait and have a better quality book, with a better quality reading experience. When books are rushed they may get to me faster, but they leave me unsatisfied. Maybe it's the dissatisfaction of a lesser quality book that causes us to hunt for the next one, something to satiate the reading need. Maybe if we read books that transcended us, that caused us to think and ponder and feel, books that we couldn't get out of our head when done, we wouldn't feel the need to immediately toss it aside and find the next replacement.  Maybe those better quality books would teach us to wait.

Do you feel the pressure? Do you give into the mistaken apprehension (for it is mistaken) that you have to publish two books a year to be successful?

I'm trying to teach patience to my children, and I can tell you they're sure teaching it to me, but do you think, over all, waiting is a lost art? 

38 comments:

  1. I agree with you. It's hard to produce 2 or more good books a year. Though maybe if you're experienced and work as a writer full-time you could do it. And yes, we need to be more patient in general. Me too.

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  2. I'll wait for quality. The pressure to finish is immense, and I can't imagine what the pressure would be like if you had a book doing well and the publisher wants book 2. But rushing for rushing's sake is sad.

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  3. Waiting is most definitely a lost art! I would much prefer to wait and read a quality book. I've had authors whose work I enjoyed and the "bigger" they got, the faster they pumped the books out and the quality suffered. Then I stop reading their stuff.
    I am a slow writer, and I know that, but still, I sometimes feel pressure to write more quickly, just by hearing others talk about how many words they're producing each day. I know, I know, it's never good to compare ourselves. But social media sometimes makes it difficult not to.

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    1. Social media does make it all too easy to compare ourselves. I'm a slow writer too.

      I, too, have authors I've left behind when they stopped caring about quality.

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  4. We give our kids a decision, take something now or wait and receive twice as much later. They are learning to wait for something better rather than look for an immediate gain.

    Although frustrated by not releasing my book by now, I know that by waiting it will be that much better. Just have to be patient and wait.

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    1. Yeah, we do similar things with our kids. It's an important skill to learn.

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  5. I concur, waiting and patience is a lost virtue. i am still trying to teach not only my kids that, but myself.

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    1. I'm working on learning it too. Like so much in life, I think patience is one of those never obtained, always on the journey to, things.

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  6. I've switched to e-reading to give me my reading fix now, but I'd rather wait than be disappointed in poor quality.

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    1. I love ebooks because I can get them now. But I don't want them available until they're ready.

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  7. Fantastic topic for a post, Sara. It's like we almost have to fight to lay fallow--which remains hugely important--if that makes sense.

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    1. Yes, it makes sense. Lying fallow is hugely important. Nothing can give continuously. We, and our creativity, need times to refill.

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  8. I totally feel the pressure with my ms but it's been almost 4 years in the making (remaking?). The pressure comes mostly from people outside the creative circle whose expectations are too high for me to achieve right now. The result (in part)has me feeling sup-par as a writer. So as a reader, I'd much rather wait and read a good quality book than the fast food version.

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  9. Waiting is a lost art. I often think back to a time spent with my grandparents where, after the chores where done, we just sat around on the porch. Can you imagine that? Sitting around and watching fireflies!

    I feel the write faster pressure, too. I actually had a member of a (former) critique group tell me to just hurry up and finish. Fortunately, I had already heard a smart editor say, "You can't rush art." So, I'm working on my own timetable.

    I agree with you, I'd rather wait for a good book instead of reading a rushed one.

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    1. I can imagine that, we did it too. Even now when we get together as a family we will sit around the kitchen table and just talk. It's one of my absolute favorite things. I'm glad you know to work on your own time table. It's the only way you'll be satisfied with your work.

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  10. I'm putting out at least 2 books a year at the start. For my series, it's easy. The other stuff takes longer. I think an author can have speed and quality. Many hold back on a series so they can release them in quick succession.

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  11. Yes Yes Yes. I'm frustrated at how fast some authors are putting out books. They aren't the only authors out there. I want to read books from other authors, too. So if the book isn't the best possible quality, I won't read anymore of the author's books. Why bother? They are more interested in the money than in writing a quality product.

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    1. That's right, while it can be hard to wait for sequels, etc, there are lots of books in the sea. And often, the wait only makes the reading experience so much sweeter.

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  12. Well, the way that I'm doing it with my publisher is that we are waiting to release the first so that six months later we can release the second. So even though I didn't write both books in the same year, they are being pubbed in the same year. Little tricksy! :)

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  13. man, if that is the case, i better get aspirin because staying up late to write since i have a full-time job, gives me a throbbing head...stock just went up in aspirin...i can see it now!

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    1. I better buy some stock before it skyrockets. I can sell it high, then I will be able to afford to write all day.

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  14. this is really a great post. I have waited long enough and have decided to go indie with my first novel. I think I could write on YA novel and one verse novel each year but could I get them ready to publish ? not so sure... i questioned an author who has over 200 title (chapter books, Ya novels) but she never got back to me.. I guess the only way to write that much is to have a team around you. YES.. I think teaching our children patience is important in this world we life in.

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  15. I agree with you, I'd rather wait, to. There are only three authors at the moment whose books I *must have* on the day of release - Gaiman, Gabaldon, and Tolkien. And other forumites, of course!
    Otherwise, I'll just avoid spoilers and get to the book in my own time. I'd rather know that the author waited, too, and released a quality book, than hit publish the second the first round of edits were completed.

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  16. Waiting does seem like a lost art. Sometimes when I'm at the grocery store, waiting in line to pay, I look around. All the people hurrying here and there. Upset that they're waiting for their turn. And I wish our society would simply relax and enjoy each moment -- rather than rushing off to the next moment. Because later on we say things like, "I wish I would have taken more time to . . ."

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  17. Exactly right, Sara. That's a huge problem in our society today and one of the reasons our country is in such a sorry state.

    The "gimme, gimme, now, now" crowd has become more vocal and many are subscribing to their way of thinking.

    Patience is a virtue, for sure....

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  18. Soooooo true, Sara. Spot on. It's an interesting day in age. I would absolutely rather wait for quality--especially since I feel like it's been so long since I've read something really amazing!

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  19. You're hitting a nail. I know I cannot give quality in such a short time. I started another book in my series and had hoped to complete it this year, but I cannot. I just cannot do it in such a short time without short-changing the reader.

    A very, very... well, an excellent post,Sara.

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  20. I'm playing the waiting game with my publisher too. What choice do we have? Not waiting doesn't generally work. You've nailed it, Sara. Patience is a virtual for a reason.

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  21. I've always had patience out the wazoo, and it rarely bothers me to wait for anything. (However, I'll admit to considerable annoyance when someone is creeping along at 25 MPH in front of me in a 55 MPH zone, and I can't get clearance to pass.) My kids are a little less patient, and our grandchildren, a little less patient yet. But we're working on teaching them, and they're learning, little by little. (I wish they'd hurry up. HA!)

    As for books... or food... I'd rather wait for quality, as opposed to settling for a less satisfying immediate fix. Stuart Woods used to produce books more slowly than he does these days. Fantastic books. Then he went to two books a year... and now, THREE a year, because that's what his publisher wanted. Holy cow! I still read his books, but they aren't nearly as good as his earlier works. I can't help but wonder if he has a ghost writer helping him churn them out.

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  22. Waiting is actually the hardest part of the whole process. Now if we use this waiting period to productive use then it would be better!

    Nas

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  23. Hahahahaha! YES. I feel pressure now that people are asking for the sequel to Binding Stone. LOL. And I DO write quickly. But I won't rush and skimp on quality. That's way too important to me. It's kind of funny when you think how long traditional publishing takes.

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  24. You said it perfectly: Waiting is a lost art. Beautiful.

    There are pressures. I feel them to release a new book to keep people interested, but I want to put out a quality product. I need to have patience with myself and wait until it is ready.

    Great post!

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  25. Yes, there's a definite pressure. It's such a shame too. Producing good stories, written well, takes time!

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  26. When my little ones were still little, we would sing this (totally cheesy) song with them in supermarket and airport lines: "Patience means you have to wait, something that we all sure hate, close your eyes and count to 8, one-two-three-four-five-six-seveneight." To the tune of "Mary Had a Little Lamb." It worked, but I wouldn't recommend singing it to anyone over the age of 4. I'm a little surprised none of the people near us in line stabbed me.

    I suppose the ready availability of most things has made us less patient, at least for those things. My kind of authors tend to put out a book every five years, so I have been trained to wait — at least for that. As for me, I don't have any expectations of how fast I'll put out a book, but I'm not published yet. Upside: no pressure. Downside: I'm not published yet. :/

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  27. I like Natalie Goldberg's advice that every writer should practice for 2 years before they even try writing a book. That's where I'm at-- practicing and discovering what I ultimately want to write. Apparently I'm in no rush! ;)

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  28. I agree we are a much too impatient society these days, and that does affect the creative process. Impatient and distracted. In my own experience, when I've been patient enough to do the required rewrites, I always get a better book or story. I don't know how anyone can manage to bang out two books a year.

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  29. I would much rather wait for something that is a quality product than have a mediocre product immediately. It's unfortunate that our society has such a "want it now" mentality.

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  30. I've not even been published and I feel this pressure. A surge of, "If this doesn't happen now, no one will wait for you".

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