It Takes Time

When I first started writing, I did a lot of research. One of the things I began to notice was how long it took for authors to get published. The average, if I remember right, was 3-5 years from the point of starting to the point of contract.

The numbers boggled me.

Could I write for that long? With no guarantee?

Of course, I could. It helped to think of the first few years as college. Still, I was overwhelmed by the thought of how long it took so I decided to stop thinking about it and just write, query, etc.

About a year ago, I suddenly realized I'd been writing for three years. Somehow the time had flown by.


Well, the best thing about publishing is that while there's a wait, there's also always things changing. For example, after I finished my first manuscript it took time to write the query. Then time to figure out who to send it to. And then I started a new story as I waited for responses. Between all that was editing and critiquing and contests.

Basically, I've been writing, editing and submitting for four years now. Time slipped by and I didn't even know it. Now I'm moving toward the five year mark and I have to wonder, will this be it?

How do you feel about the wait? How long have you been writing?


Three years. And the wait...hmm. I try to forget I'm waiting. That doesn't always work so well. I write furiously, but pursue the publication route quite a bit slower. (No wonder it's taking so long.) ;)
~ Wendy
Tamika: said…
Almost three years for me, and the waiting still persists. I'm trying to train my focus to stay on the writing, growing at my craft, and trusting God's time.

I know I'm in this for the long haul.
Robyn Campbell said…
Six years, Jess. SIX LONG YEARS. I started writing picture books (which I still do) and then decided to write middle grade novels and chapter books too.

Now I'm querying my MG adventure. It is a draggy long process.

My crit partner, Beth, wrote for ten years before getting her agent. Her debut was #seven on the New York Times Best Seller list. So I guess things happen for a reason. God knows when the time will be right for me. I hope it's now or in the next few months. I WANT TO BE PUBLISHED. :-)

Great post woman!
Do you REALLY want to know? Steady yourself. Don't fall off your computer chair.

Thirty years. Poems, short articles, devotions, longer articles, stories, columns, and now books. It took me 27 of those before I had the courage to write and pitch a book. So, I guess you could say only three, if that makes you feel better.

BTW, congrats on your double semi-final in Genesis!! Woo-hoo and praise God!!! You inspire me.
Terri Tiffany said…
I have been writing seriously for almost 6 years. Fiction-- only a few. But once that desire is there, how do you let it go?
I'm into my eighth year with just the last one off, so I guess seven years in total.

I'm praying this is the year for you, Jessica!
Emily Conrad said…
Thanks for this post. I've been working toward this eleven years, and the waiting has been getting to me lately. Last year was the year I got an agent, and now I'm wondering the same thing as you: will this be the year?? It's good to know I'm not alone. God has good plans for each of us.
Jessica Nelson said…
Emily, yes, I completely believe He does. :-) So it sounds like you've got a Masters in writing! LOL I hope this is the year for you!

Thank you, Eileen! You've put alot of time and study into writing. It will pay off for you, I'm sure of it. :-)
Jessica Nelson said…
Terri, so true. Now that I hear characters and know how to finish a book...I don't know if I could stop.

LOL Jeanette, yes, that does make me feel better. :-) And thank you for the congrats. *blushing*

Wow, Robyn, what a story about your critter! That is awesome!!! And for you, well, it could be any day. You never know what's waiting around the corner. :-)
Jessica Nelson said…
That's a great attitude to have Tamika, and I think the right one. You'll go far like that. :-)

Wendy, good point. Sometimes publication takes awhile because though we may be writing, we're not submitting. You've had some great opportunities and I don't think it'll be long for someone to grab your work and pub it!
Linda Glaz said…
Started cranking out stories 19 years ago, started actually writing seriously about 3 years ago. HUGE SIGH! If it's college, Jess, then I fill like I have my doctorate, but will go for a second major if necessary, just won't quit, EVER!
Jessica Nelson said…
Good for you!!! Yeah, you def. have a doctorate and great knowledge. :-) I'm glad you're my critter!
Keli Gwyn said…
Wow, Jessie! You've been writing three years and are a DOUBLE Genesis finalist? I'd say you're making great progress. I look forward to hearing more good news from you in the near future.
Laila Knight said…
It's always good to hear that it takes a long time for everyone. I have to push myself to keep querying. The writing I can do forever. Great post!
Linda Kage said…
It took my 10 years from the first time I submitted a story to the time I finally sold something, and I'm glad I did, I learned a lot in that time and am grateful for the publishing knowledge.
Stephanie said…
I am really amazed when I think back to when I started writing seriously, with the goal of was a good 5-6 years ago. It has flown by.

My debut, A Bitch Named Karma, was started in November of 2006 and the contract came in May of 2009, publication June 2010.
Erica Vetsch said…
I had to stop and consider. I wrote my first fiction in 2004, and started seeking publication in 2005. Has it really been seven years since I penned my first fiction?

Though if we're counting the true first fiction I wrote, that was ninth grade...and so far in the past as to be prehistoric.

Congrats on your DOUBLE semi-final success!
Tana said…
I've been writing since the stone ages or there abouts. I like to think I've been hardcore writing for the last fourteen years but the teenager in me growls each time I say that and it's been much longer.
Jessica Nelson said…
Keli, four years. :-) And working on my fifth, but thank you for the awe. *grin*

Laila, I know how tough querying is. Keep going and keep learning. I'm glad the writing flows for you though. That's always a plus!

Linda, that's such a great attitude to have! I hope I'll remain thankful too, no matter what happens.
Jessica Nelson said…
Hey Stephanie, thanks for stopping by. And thanks for the timeline. It really does take a long time for things to go through.

Wow, Erica! So you fit right into the averages, except now you're selling stories right and left!!! LOL And yeah, if I went back to my first "book", it was in seventh grade.

Tana, I need some tips on how to summon my inner teen. She went missing a long time ago. :-)
Diane said…
It's all those waiting times in between that stretch it out and hopefully, make us better writers along the way. :O)
Sarah Forgrave said…
I had to laugh when I read Erica's comment and your reply. If we're counting my sorry excuses for writing in 8th grade, I've been at it longer than I want to admit. :) But seriously pursuing publication...over two years.

Hope your good news comes soon!
Jennifer Shirk said…
Oh my gosh, time flies!! I've just realized I've been writing for...almost seven years! Gulp.
Deb Shucka said…
It is amazing how fast the time goes, isn't it? I've been writing seriously for four years now - toward publication. Some days it feels like I'll never get there, but as long as I keep my head down and do what's in front of me, I can keep going.

Great post.
Seven years. WOW. That's kind of depressing when I say it aloud. LOL

Some days it's excruciating; others, I just block out everything but the writing. Those are the good days.

But either way, as long as I never stop writing, every day brings me that much closer to selling a shiny new book. ;)
Hi Jess -

I started out as a non-fiction writer many years ago, but didn't seek publication until 2004. I've had a number of devotionals and articles published.

My fiction journey began in late 2005, was interrupted by my husband's illness for 14 months, and continues to this day.

Susan :)
Anonymous said…
Hi Jessica,

I've been writing nearly three years. My first story is done and I'm about to start on #2, but I'm sort of stuck at the querying stage. It seems easier to write a book than actually send it off! ;)

Congratulations on semi-finaling in the Genesis, by the way. I saw your name on there, twice! :)Awesome! Great job. I love reading about your writing journey and seeing the doors opening for you. Congrats!

God Bless,
Ivana Watkins said…
I've been writing my whole life, but I've only been "serious" about it for the last 3 years. It is a long wait, but I strongly believe that the journey to get there is more valuable than reaching the goal itself :)
Jill Kemerer said…
Congratulations on surviving! I wrote sporadically for years, but didn't get serious until the fall of 2007. Like you I've been writing and submitting for close to four years.

Will this be it?

I don't know, but I'm making peace with that! I do know I love writing more and more each year, so time has been good to me.
Karen Lange said…
Been writing since I was young, but more focused these past bunch of years. Getting there, and trusting for His leading.
Happy weekend,
Jessica Nelson said…
Diane, I totally agree!

Sarah, you make a good distinction! I probably should've said writing toward publication, since most writers started scribbling at a young age. :-)

Hahaha! Welcome to reality, Jennifer. *grin*
Jessica Nelson said…
Deb, I know that feeling well.

Ahem, Anita....*grin* I'll let you figure out my ahem. In the meantime, why's 7 years depressing? You've had some emotional highs and lows but it was never static. You've got a lot of action, girl, now we've just gotta hope the action propels you toward US publication. :-)
Jessica Nelson said…
Susan, I'm so in awe of those who can get devotionals and the like published. Kudos to you for that! You're a wonderful person and I think you'll see something great happen with your works. :-)

LOL CandidKerry, I think you're right about querying. Thanks so much for the congrats and for popping by! :-)

Ivana, that's a wonderful way to put it. And the journey never ends, from what I hear from pubbed authors, so we may as well enjoy the scenery along the way, right?
Jessica Nelson said…
Jill, that's so romantic! Almost like what old, married couples say. :-)

Happy weekend to you too, Karen!
Unknown said…
I think I started writing my first novel in 2002 when I was still in college. My first published novel has just been released. Wow! You don't realize how long it has been until you stop and think about it.
Oh, yeah! Haha! LOL, Jessie. I just figured out your ahem. And you're so right! How could I have forgotten that!

Deutschland liebt Morpheus! Woohoo!

Thanks for the -- ahem -- gentle reminder. ;)
Anonymous said…
HMMM SO I enrolled in writing course nearly 7 years ago.. which I finished nearly a year ago... wrote my first pb 3 years ago ... waiting ... developing skills... learning more...
denise petrovich said…
I have no doubt about your future success! What double-semi final success???
I've been waiting pretty close to the same amount of time, hopefully year 5 is the charm.
Nancy said…
I like the way you do things. It's all planned and your attitude is great. I believe you will succeed and that all of that work will pay off.
Lauren F. Boyd said…
I started writing at the end of 2009, so it's been about 1 1/2 years (your other commenters have me beat, I think!) I'm still waiting for that book with my name on it, but I love to write i the meantime - and enjoy life because it goes so fast!
Hi! I'm following you from M-O-M
blog hop!I hope you visit me and
return the follow:0)
Toyin O. said…
Waiting is not fun, but I feel the best part of our character is built while we are waiting:)
Hi, Jessica!

I'm new to your blog, but I've seen you on so many blogs I follow, so I thought I would come say hi!

Great post. It's been two years of taking writing seriously...but I've been scratching things down for since i was able to hold a pencil:)

Jessica Nelson said…
Hi Melanie, Thanks so much for popping by! :-)

Toyin, you said it! I totally agree. Thank you for commenting.

Lauren, you're so right about life. *sigh* I can't believe it's already April!
Jessica Nelson said…
Wooohoo, Julie!!! Congrats!!!!

Hi Tanya, thanks for stopping by.

Hey Soccer Club, I hope it is too. :-) For me and for you!

Thanks Nancy! YOu have a great attitude too. :-)
Jessica Nelson said…
Michelle, sounds like you're on the right track!

Thanks mom. :-) I double semifinaled in a contest (two entries semifinaled. One you've read, one you haven't.)

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