Wednesday, April 25, 2012

An Elephant or a Dormouse: Is the wait worth it?

Sometimes the gestation period for a book seems to take forever.

No, really, FOREVER.

You wait for the ideas to come, you wait on yourself while you write, and you wait around while you revise.

Patience, patience.

Then you wait to hear back from agents about your query letters. Wait even longer to hear back from partials and fulls.

And it doesn't end there! You have to wait and wait and wait when you finally go to submissions while editors and publishers actually read your work. Some will pass it to another editor, who passes it to another, and they all have to take their time to read.

Through all that waiting, you will see others who seem to have their dreams come true overnight. And it's frustrating.

When I begin to feel that way, I remember the Elephant and the Dormouse.

When Ella Elephant and Dora Dormouse find out they're pregnant, they both get excited. They go shopping together, they dream of baby names together. They're co-pregnant. It's a beautiful thing.

Three weeks later, Dora has her babies. Four of them.

Ella's not even close to done.

Ella has to wait another twenty-one months after Dora before she sees her baby. Singular.

And I'm sure that, to Ella, that might seem frustrating. And unfair.

But that's when you have to do the math.

Sure, Dora had four kids in three weeks. But those kids will only live to be five years old before they die. Dora won't even get to see much of their lives, cause she'll be dead very soon.

Meanwhile, the baby elephant will live twelve times as long, all the way to sixty or older. And Ella will get to be with her child for a very long time.

What about size? When the dormice are fully grown, they'll be between two to seven inches long and weigh about a half of an ounce.

The elephant, on the other hand, will be eighteen times taller and 160,000 times heavier, coming in at eleven feet tall and weighing two and a half tons.

So, if you're ever feeling antsy while waiting, remember: It's better to be an Elephant than a Dormouse.


Ravena Guron said...

Ha ha wow this is very insightful. I have this problem all I time. I absolutely hate waiting. I want my WIP to be done now, but somehow it doesn't work like that. As someone said (I can't remember who) "I hate writing, I love having written."

Isaiah Campbell said...

Thanks, Ravena! I agree, writing is more fun in the past tense. ;)