Reflection #5: Patience
As winter winds on, I thought I'd write a little bit about patience. I've gathered from skimming through forums on the website that many of you are struggling with waiting patiently for spring and the release of Bringer of Storms. I'll let you in on a little secret -- I'm struggling with that too.
Writing this series has been an almost continual lesson in patience. From the summer of 2000, when I resurrected this idea and started spending serious time world-building and developing the storyline, it felt like a long time until the book contract was signed in the spring of '02. From the spring of '02 to the release of Beyond the Summerland in May, '04, it felt like another long time.
Holding Beyond the Summerland in my hand was a remarkable thing. It had seemed so long in coming, and yet it was finally here. It was great to celebrate with friends a dream come true. It was great to hold in concrete, tangible form, something that had for so long existed only in some nether region of my mind and in my conversations with certain friends.
The problem was that the waiting wasn't over. As spring gave way to summer, the questions and responses to Beyond the Summerland began to roll in. At first, this was novel and exciting. After all, I was essentially finished writing the first three books, and Beyond the Summerland felt like such a long time ago. To finally see a broad spectrum of responses to Kirthanin and to be fielding an array of questions about it took me back, almost like something nostalgic or sentimental. It was great.
After a few months, though, I found myself increasingly thinking the same thing -- "just keep reading, it'll answer these questions." Of course, this was a pointless thing to think because you couldn't keep reading. Many of you wanted to, but you couldn't. And so there I was, working away on book IV, watching the days tick slowly by as the specter of Bringer of Storms loomed in the distance, along with all the same questions. Will they like it? Will they like it as much as Beyond the Summerland? Will they be disappointed? Will people keep reading? All the questions, and no way to answer them until the book is released.
So now I know. With the release of each book will be the immediate gratification of holding the next installment in my hand. There will be the sudden "leap forward" in the broader public's grasp of the story. There will be the new questions and new issues to be addressed in person and by email and in the forums. At the same time, there will come the point when I can say little or no more until the next installment. There will come the day when I begin increasingly to say, at least to myself, "just keep reading," but you won't be able to.
Lots and lots of waiting. That's the story of writing, not just reading. I just thought some of you should know I'm in the same boat, and in a sense, I really do know what you're going through as you wait. I'm waiting too.