1) You're reading this list.
2) You're reading another list about writing. Possibly something meant to be motivational. Possibly something involving the publishing industry, something that relies largely on comforting words like "personal craft" and "unique voice."
3) You're stalking literary agents on Twitter.
4) You're stalking literary agents on their blogs.
5) You're stalking literary agents at their home addresses. (No. Bad. Stop.)
6) You're daydreaming about another idea which sprang into your mind as a fever dream at two in the morning and seemed brilliant, but which you promptly forgot. You think it was about something involving a duck. Maybe.
7) You're re-reading the bits of the WIP that you've already written. (It's initial analysis, okay?)
8) You're writing extensive backstory for your characters because look, it's important, it's part of the psyche.
9) You're on AgentQuery, QueryTracker, Preditors and Editors, or some other website involving other people who also should be working on their WIPs.
10) You're on Facebook, Instagram, Gmail, or some other website involving people who would have no idea what "WIP" meant were you to drop the abbrev in convo. (Their ignorance is comforting. Well, you think to yourself, I am farther along than all these people!)
11) You're debating character quirks with yourself. This character really likes cursing - should you rein him back? Will people judge you as an author or as a human being for his vulgar behavior? Moreover, will they judge you if your main character's second nephew has a penchant for speaking using only words that have the letter X? Or how about that girl you stuck into chapter seventeen who eats condiments without food? Is your book turning into an indie movie? What's even going on? Where are you? Who are you?
12) Okay. You've taken a break to eat. Things seem normal again.
13) You're still eating. You're feeling guilty about eating.
14) You're staring at the last sentence you wrote yesterday, rereading its final words over and over and over, attempting to find an adequate segue to the next scene you have planned, which shall be a Scene of Great Emotional Gravitas.
15) Someone from the Real World texts you and jolts you from your Mindset.
16) Someone from the Real World is talking to you. In person. You can't seem to converse, because all you can think about is how inadequate your dialogue is.
17) You're at work.
18) Just kidding. That's not an excuse. You're at work and the power's out.
19) Scrivener is still installing on your laptop. (It's been seventeen hours. You're considering buying a MacBook. Is this PC really worth the pain?)
20) You're drawing arcs. Character arcs. Plot arcs. Psychological and spiritual arcs. Vaguely parabolic arcs. You always knew Algebra 2 would come in handy at some point.
21) You're making a Writing Playlist on Spotify or iTunes. (You're getting desperate.)
22) You're moving to a location where your "emotional interiority can be the most focused". You're not even entirely sure you know what this means. (Oh, God, this is bad.)
23) You're considering becoming a poet instead. (You write commercial fiction, buddy.)
24) You're still reading a list some girl wrote on a writers' website. But you're about to finish that list. You feel mild panic descending upon you. You have no excuse, now.
25) Go. Write. Do it.
Riley Redgate, enthusiast of all things YA, is a
bookstore-and-Starbucks-dweller from North Carolina attending college in
Ohio. She blogs here and speaks with considerably more brevity here.
GET YOUR QUESTIONS READY
In an upcoming post From The Write Angle
contributors will answer your questions. What's it like to "get the
call" either from an agent or a publisher? How do I get my MS in to
Hollywood? How do historical writers do all of that research?
What are your questions for our contributors? Keep an eye out for our upcoming call for questions.