Writing lessons my horse has taught me.

30 Mar

Let me tell you first that I made a typo as I typed the title of this post. Instead of “horses,” I typed “hores,” which made my eager-for-the-cheap-joke mind go straight to “whores.” Sounds like a fascinating blog post, but fortunately or unfortunately, it’s not one I am qualified to write.

Now then. Back to our regularly scheduled post.

I’ve been in love with horses for most of my life, so it’s little wonder my first novel features a bunch of them. Horses have taught me a ton over the years, but who knew they’d teach me about writing? It’s the patience thing.

Yes, you have to be patient with horses no matter what, but a few years ago I started studying natural horsemanship. If you want a crash course in patience—and I mean an advanced degree—try this. Ideally, you have to outwait a HORSE, and horses have all the time in the world and know it. I used to think I was a pretty patient person, but my horse ran circles around me, patience-wise. But practicing natural horsemanship and having to think like a horse has upped my patience quotient a thousandfold.

What does this have to do with writing a romance novel? As I journey along to get my book published, I’ve found that patience is a valuable arrow to have in my quiver. For one thing, just like when you’re looking for a job, you are, by and large, never the hiring person’s priority. Filling a position is typically a back-burner kind of thing. It’s the same with agents who are looking at your work—they don’t get paid to read queries or sample pages, they get paid for taking care of their current authors. Sure, yes, of course they want to find the next J.K. Rowling or Michael Chabon or (fill in successful author name here), but it’s a tough slog through the slush pile. Agents take months to read what you send them, and that can range from two to twelve months. Or more.  I learned at a recent workshop that it takes two-to-three years to get a novel from manuscript to bookstore shelf. And that’s AFTER you find an agent! In other words, traditional publishing is not for instant gratificationists.

With luck, my horse has prepared me for the wait.

Thanks for your support!

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