I took this long-distance shot recently of a pigeon sitting on a cable because I liked the colours, and the symmetry of the lines bisecting the image.
Afterwards, when I examined it on my computer I realised it reminded me, in a metaphorical way, of one of the most frustrating aspects of writing: the waiting.
So much of what you do is hanging about to hear from other people. The sitting on your own creating worlds is just one part of the work. After that there’s the waiting to see if your work will find a market. And since rejection is also your constant mistress (I’ve learned to accept her cold indifference), this often involves sending your work out multiple times, and waiting upon responses constantly.
It doesn’t stop there of course. If you’re lucky to get a sale, then there are often rounds of edits and feedback. All of which require more patience and waiting.
And as I’ve experienced, there are the occasions when you can’t go public about the progress of your projects, despite having signed a contract. Years can pass before you can reveal all that has been happening behind the scenery.
Writing is a long, long game. Projects that you thought were dead for years can suddenly revive like a wizened vampire corpse getting a precious drop of blood. Others possess a blessed existence and charm their way into people’s hearts instantly. It’s impossible to predict what is going to do well and what will languish. All you can do is keep writing and sending work out.
To everyone you are a bird sitting on a wire against an azure sky. When things get announced it seems like lightning on a clear summer’s day.
But the whole time you’ve been balancing on that wire on one leg, juggling balls with wings, beak, and talon.