Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Duration

Okay, so publishing is like this giant roller coaster. And it spans from California (hi Christine!) to Alaska (hey, Paul) to Ohio (hola Lisa and Laura) down to the Carolinas and the deep south (hello Beth and Katie and Sarah and Shelli and Scott). It even crosses oceans (hi Amy).

There's loops. The kind that turn you upside down. Big hills with traction chains. Small hills. Deep drops. Sharp turns. The whole she-bang.

And after you've been on the ride for a while, you realize you're strapped in for the duration. That seatbelt is cinched and you're holding on for dear life.

And there's a lot of screaming.

Some tears.

Some intense chats and flurries of emails.

Lots of anxiety -- especially up those tractioned hills.

But you know what? I've come to learn that the roller coaster isn't always going up or down, but sometimes there's these straight stretches where you're just sitting there, waiting for the next high or the next low.

I hereby declare these straight stretches "The Duration."

And on The Duration, there's screaming. Some tears. Some intense chats and flurries of emails. Sometimes part of the track is missing, and you take a big breath as the car leaps...

And through it all, you're smiling because you're so dang happy to be on the ride at all.

And that is the ride that is publishing.

What do you think? What would you compare publishing to? (And don't say imprisonment. *wink*) How's your journey been so far? So many of you are new here, so take this chance to fill us in.

64 comments:

Lisa and Laura said...

I love this visual. Plus it's much more fun to picture all of us on a rollercoaster together than in jail, right? And it totally reminds me of the rollercoaster scene in The Uglies and I love that scene!

Publishing kind of reminds me of sitting in stop and go traffic. Once you get going again, you are so freaking excited, only to find another traffic jam up ahead. It's kind of sloooooooow.

Paul Greci said...

Elana, love your analogy. I'm in one of the duration parts right now.

Off the top of my head, (It's early in Seattle, just got off a plane after a late night flight and will be hopping another soon), I think publishing is kind of like running marathons, not just one. There are many very up times when the endorphins kick in, sometimes in a race, sometimes in training, but there are long stretches too that can get monotonous. And sometimes you hit the wall, but it's an amazing journey with many unknowns.

Now, if I can just squeeze a little revision in before my flight.

lynnrush said...

Wow. How funny is this? I'm listening to the song, "While I am Waiting" by John Waller as I type this. . . . Talk about timing, huh?

The song talks about what he'll do while waiting . . . . It's related to the movie "Fireproof" if you haven't seen it.

Anyway. ..

You chose a great word to describe the straight stretches. There is a lot of waiting in this wonderful ride to publication.

I don't mind the waiting so much, really. I just keep writing and writing while waiting. That helps me get through it.

The journey, for me, has been fun so far--but then again, I just got an agent a couple weeks ago, so I'm still on cloud nine. :-)

So, write on, my friends, it can happen!! We're all in this together.

Sherry Dale Rogers said...

I must say that I always love you post. They get my head to spinning. Sometimes I feel as if I just started this writing process and other times I feel as if I have stalled out.

My process is like climbing the apple tree. At the very top of the tree there is a big red juicy apple just waiting for me to take a bite. But every time I get close, I slip and fall to the ground. Just when I feel like giving up the apple falls off and hits me right on the head. Then I realize why I just can’t get enough of those apples.

Rebecca L Sutton said...

Love this!

I'm still waiting on the agent thing to happen so I haven't begun the publication leg of the journey. Yet.

I'm wondering what it means if I hate roller coasters? lol But if my published book was at the end of any ride I'd jump right on!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Roller coasters make me queasy. Green in the face, I'm going to puke any second queasy. Yep, the whole publishing industry/roller coaster analogue works for me. :D

The only difference is I'm willing to put myself through all of that with my writing because the high parts really are amazing.

Jody Hedlund said...

Great analogy, Elana. I like the duration part! I think we have a LOT of those parts, and while it's hard while we're in them, I think honestly we'd get incredibly worn out if all we had were the highs and lows!

Jess of All Trades said...

I know what you say is true. I believe.

But until I get my ticket and hop into the roller coaster car..I think I'll keep pretending it'll be less of a roller coaster like one of those super-fast trains in Japan...

:D <---happy delusional face.

Patti said...

Loved the analogy and I agree with Paul publishing is like running a marathon over and over and over again. Just when finished one race, you have to begin another.

I'm very tired just thinking about it.

HWPetty said...

The way I feel during this process is a little like how I felt when I was an uber-hormonal jr. high type... where I could start the day crying and end it laughing until I was crying again.

But my favorite part is always the community of writers, agents, editors, and interns, who all strive for the same thing: To create great books.

But I don't mind The Duration at all... it's kind of a moment of rest, anticipation of what happens next.

lbdiamond said...

As usual, Elana, your timing is extraordinary! I was JUST thinking about this yesterday (query letters do that to me). On the way home from work, I was listening to the New Moon soundtrack and one of the songs' lyrics played (I even Twittered the line, it was so spot on to how I felt about the journey to publishing):

Don't get hung up on it, just soldier on with it, and good luck with shootin' the moon.

That about sums it up. Don't sweat the "R's," keep going, and good luck with a long shot.

;)

Erica said...

Great post and analogy!

I'm at the beginning of this journey, so it's hard for me to say. So far it's been like a Merry-Go-Round, the same thing every day, then it turns and you think it's different for a moment, then it's the same... hoping to get off this Merry-Go-Round and hop on the slide ;o)

Love your posts!

JenniferWalkup said...

Ha. Great analogy. And I think it isn't just publishing that's a roller coaster, but the writing too. For me, it's just one up and down after the other. The key for me is to have a lot going on at once (writing new novel, querying another, submitting short stories, etc.). This way I try to trick myself into being distracted from the low points of the roller coaster!:)

Frankie Diane Mallis said...

I don't think I've gotten to the roller coaster yet, Im still in line, but I have my ticket!

Mary Aalgaard said...

Just blogged about this yesterday - life and writing being one in the same. I wrote how we're like a molecule of water - ever flowing in the cylce of life - sometimes frozen in an iceberg, sometimes pulled with the stream, sometimes, if we're really lucky, providing nutrients to other living things.

Roller coasters are way too scary!

Caroline Starr Rose said...

Waiting while on submission...it's like the roller coaster has stopped at the top of the biggest drop. The anticipation eats you up.

Matilda McCloud said...

I often think of it as a roller coaster because of the extreme highs and lows involved. But you do need to get off every once in while. Right now I'm writing and not querying so I'm off the roller coaster for the time being, which is kind of a relief and allows me to regroup before I get on again. The image of a long journey also helps me--sometimes you get off on the wrong road, get lost, ambushed etc, but you keep going.

Stephanie L. McGee said...

My ride right now is more like the carousel. I'm up and down around and around. Just trying to get to that next step up, Splash Mountain.

Well, Splash Mountain would be the dismount from the carousel.

I'm not on the roller coaster yet.

Kristi said...

I'm such a roller coaster girl -- it's my favorite amusement park ride next to the old Zipper thing still found at county fairs here. I haven't yet endured The Duration, but I know I'll have a hard time with it. It's been a wild ride so far though, and I've loved (almost) every second of it.

Tamika: said...

I loved roller coasters more as a kid now I'm a lot less adventurous! Great comparison, because I feel the same anxiety mixed with excitement that use to dazzle me.

Jonathon Arntson said...

That describes the ride I'm on! Well, I might still be in the queue, but I can see that ride in the distance and my stomach is full of butterflies and paper clips. Paper clips, where'd that come from. Let's go with staples instead.

Kerri C at CK Farm said...

I haven't taken the plunge yet. I guess that would be when you're looking ahead and see that an upside down loop is coming.You will be most likely hanging on for dear life and holding your breath. Hmm sounds like fun, I'm game lol!

Jen Chandler said...

This really is a great visual. For me, it's been more like walking in the dark and, every now and then, finding a match for my candle. I light it, have a bit of a clearer view and then the candle goes out again. And I run into walls. I'm hoping to find a lightswitch in here soon.

Happy Thursday,
Jen

Michelle McLean said...

roller coaster about sums it up for me :D

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I love the roller coaster imagery. I also like to think of it as some kind of weird, secret quest - like Percy Jackson, but with writing monsters and heroes. :-)

V. S said...

And through it all, you're smiling because you're so dang happy to be on the ride at all.

So inspirational. Love it.

Mary Campbell said...

I have an award for you at my blog. You get so many, but you deserve it.

Brandon said...

I'm still far from getting on this ride, but good to have some perspective on how it will be. Great analogy! I can't wait til you get to the end (which is just the beginning!).

Southpaw said...

The future.

Kelly said...

Fun analogy! I'm a roller coaster lovin' gal. The long wait is well, long, but the thrill is worth it. One day I want to ride the "Woo! Hoo! I Have a Book Deal!" ride. :) I've got my tickets and while I'm in line and talking to all the other friendly people in line (see another analogy - the bloggers :).

Amie B said...

i'm motion sick. let me off!!

Carolyn V. said...

It's like running in a marathon where people are cheering you on. You just have to finish the race.

Jessica said...

Hahaaa! I think that's right on! LOL Tears, anxiety, screams of excitement. *grin*

beth said...

*waves hi from the Carolinas!*

I dunno...I've kind of thought of it like a long drive up a mountain--there are some scary parts when the road gets close to the edge--and the higher you go, the more scary it can be--but you're always going up. As long as you don't stop, or turn around, you're always going up.

Voidwalker said...

I like your comparison, but I've yet to be published, so I defer to your example.

:)

Kimberly Job said...

Your post made me laugh. Your examples are so true. Although, overall, my publishing journey has been much easier than I expected.

A great publisher makes all the difference.

Jennifer Shirk said...

Ha! That is spot on!

Kat Harris said...

What you call The Duration, I call the Long Road to Heaven, thus the title of my blog.

:-)

Christine Fonseca said...

Kat...LOVE THAT
Elana - great post...roller coaster is perfect. Thanks for being on this ride with me!

Liza said...

Wish I could comment knowingly here. But, so far, I'm writing. I toyed with saying "only" writing, or "just" writing, but it would be so wrong. Writing first. Publishing second. Perhaps it's all a roller-coaster.

Elle Strauss said...

Great analogy! The journey is definitely a roller coaster ride, and the long straight stretches are often the hardest part. They can get really l-l-l-o-o-o-n-n-n-g-g-g...

Amy Tate said...

And tucked behind crooks and crannies are curly-Q hills. Before you know it, you've gone over it and your stomach flip-flopped all at the same time. I got hit with one of those little blessings today.

Medeia Sharif said...

You struck a chord with me. I feel like I’ve been on that ride.

Lisa Nowak said...

I have no idea what I'd compare it to. So why am I even commenting? I dunno. I guess "The Duration" was boring me so much I had to check my Google Reader.

ali said...

Haha! So true!

For me, it's like waiting a really long line for the roller coaster.

You can hear the thrilled screams and laughter from other people on the coaster. You can feel the wind breeze against your face when the coaster zooms past. The excitement makes you bounce on your toes and you're simultaneiously wondering just. how. much. longer. before. it's. your. turn. and whether or not you should just quit and try another time because the wait's so darned long.

Yup. That's where I am. In the line. The impossibly long line.

But the ride looks like a lot of fun ... even if it awfully scary to consider. ;)

Sliding on the Edge said...

You nailed this business. It's certainly unpredictable and loopy, but who'd want to sit on the sidelines and only watch all that's going on?

Cheree said...

I love your analogy, and I totally agree and I'm just on the querying leg of the journey.

I know I've got a long distance to go.

Jennie Englund said...

What if you're not even ON the roller coaster yet?

What if you've been in line for a thousand hours?

What do you do then?

Chomp another Churro and keep smiling?

Kimberly Conway said...

Great post! It definately does feel like a roller coaster! Thanks for stopping by my blog!

Veronica Barton-Dean said...

Elana,

You just explained the reason I must be here...I'm a roller coaster junkie!

In the long run, this one is well worth the ride:)

Jemi Fraser said...

Great analogy! Continuing it, I've just buckled in and am heading up the first incline. Getting near the top - can't wait for the rush :)

Dominique said...

I'm at a low-key, rather low-stress moment. I'm working on my WIPs, trying to get them in shape for the higher stress portions of the roller coaster ride. Hey, it can't all be emotion and adrenaline, right?

Donna Hole said...

Raising kids is what I compare it to. Or working a day job. For some, that's probably the same thing.

My journey as a writer has been much like your post declares. And yes, I'm happy to be on the ride.

But I've been querying the first book of the trilogy so long I think its time to move on. Found a couple beta readers though, so maybe that will spark new interest. But, there's this new idea that's banging around the old noggin, and I've even got a few words to magically appear from my head to a works document.

*rubs hands together* It's a challenge. And hopefully by the time I finish writing it I'll even have a title for the new baby.

Lovely post Elana. Thanks for the laugh.

.......dhole

Little Ms J said...

I cannot wait to feel the duration. I am so busy with my day job that writing is an excursion I get to go on every here and there. I cannot wait for the day that I can concentrate fully on rejection and the torture of edits. I cannot wait.

Kimberly Franklin said...

I want to ride with you guys! Can't wait to be at that point! : )

Karen said...

Nice visual. I'd say my journey so far has been like a hike through the woods. Sometimes refreshing, sometimes surprising, sometimes exhausting. Sometimes terrifying.

PJ Hoover said...

OMG, I love this! I'm on a stretch right now, and sometimes they get tough!
:)

Lori W. said...

Still on the kiddie coaster but maybe someday I'll work my way up. See how much we all love your analogy!

Sharon Mayhew said...

Wow, talk about deep thoughts...

Roxane B. Salonen said...

It's hard to imagine a more worthy pursuit, though I'd name raising up the next generation and attaining heaven pretty far up there as well. :) Writing, and working toward publication, and getting there, then trying to stay there...everything you've named it to be here and I can't imagine abandoning it. You're right. There's a "no turning back" point, and I know I'm beyond it now.

Bish Denham said...

Great post. For me publishing is like fishing. You get your gear together (preparing to write.) You go to your favorite spot or get in your boat (writing.) You bait your hook and throw out your line(send out your query.) You wait for a strike (no explination needed.) You get a strike and begin reeling in but you gotta be careful because you can still lose the fish (positive rejections, doing revisions that still don't get accepted are examples of fish that get away.) Lastly, landing the fish. And even here you have a couple of options, releasing it or eating it.

L.T. Elliot said...

I think I'm on that first uphill stretch right before you plummet to a low place. I'm okay with knowing that. It's my fingernails I feel sorry for.

G said...

I'm not sure what the process is for me.

I did write a recent post about what I compared publishing to, but suffice to say, I don't think it would go over too well here with everyone.

In any event, I'm starting all over from scratch again...as soon as I get my current WiP finished.

So I would say that I'm on a flat road taking those first steps towards a long journey of success (we hope).

onewriterslife said...

Love your analogy, Elana, and I agree. But for me, The Duration is like being pregnant.

I'm just so darn excited when I get the news and then reality smacks me around a bit. Life settles in. Ho-hum. How long do I go like this?

Dr. appts. full of prodding and poking while belly grows bigger and bigger. The good news is...I can eat a whole lot more ice cream. But, again, how much longer?

Stretch marks I can't do anything about begin to emerge. Belly swells some more. Plodding on--the end is in sight, I think but...How much longer?

Fear that I have this 'kid' inside doing kicks and twists when I can't do anything about them (but gosh, darn it, I'm so glad there ARE kicks and twists). Geez, how much longer?

And then come the labor pains.

Finally, I'll deliver this kid. From that point on everything will be rosey. My life will get back to normal. My body will return to the way it was.

And then I realize I have to get up every night for the 2 am and 4 am feeding. But, can't I just keep on sleeping--just a little longer? Turn over and go to sleep, baby, mama needs her rest.

And diapers? Did I mention them?

Still...me and hubby are OVERJOYED and elated that this bouncing kid is in our arms. Our Baby. Healthy. Contented...ready for the whole world to adore and love.

(sigh)

Should this kid have a little sister?

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