Claire King


There’s no time…

Posted on: October 3rd, 2012 by Claire - 10 Comments


The clocks go back this month. And tonight my taxi driver commented that the nights are drawing in. Indeed on a recent post on this blog, Pete mentioned that the sun is setting around 2 minutes earlier every single day. And as we lose daylight we say the days are shorter. As though having less sunlight means we have less time somehow. Maybe it’s to do with having less motivation? After all our bodies think this is true: when it’s dark they want to sleep, right?

Meanwhile, my absolute most popular search term leading to this blog is…

“How long until a literary agent responds?”

Which is closely followed by:

“How long after submission until I hear from publisher?

“How long after agent to get book deal?”


“How long to publication?”

Funnily enough, not one person has ever arrived here by searching “How long will it take me to write my book?”… (although The Guardian now has one answer to that question)…or “How long will it take me to become a good writer?”

If you want to see my post on how long the agent thing took, you can click the link. And yes, it took over two years from signing my contract to my book launch, which is still 4 months off. And do you know what? 21 months ago, my launch date seemed like an eternity away. Now it’s four months off and looking back on those 21 months – during which time I have been writing book two – I wonder why I still haven’t finished my new novel and packed it off to my agent. Why? Because from a writing perspective time has flown.

So what I want to say is this. The answer to all of those questions above is out of your control. Don’t let yourself get into ‘The Waiting Place’ as Dr Seuss called it. Because what you can control is the time you spend on writing (or whatever else it is you want to achieve).

How much time? Can you manage an hour a day? You’d be amazed how much progress you will make if you can. If not, what about half an hour? If not then why on earth are you here spending time reading my blog?

In conclusion, I thought I would share with you something that I first read almost 20 years ago, when I was younger and thought I had all the time in the world. I don’t know who to attribute it to, but I like it. Hope you do too.

The Value of Time. 

If you want to know the value of one year, ask a student who failed a course.

If you want to know the value of one month, ask a mother who gave birth to a premature baby.

If you want to know the value of one day, ask the editor of a newspaper.

If you want to know the value of one hour, ask the lovers waiting to meet.

If you want to know the value of one minute, ask the person who just missed the train.

If you want to know the value of one second, ask the person who just avoided a serious car accident.

And if you want to know the value of one hundredth of a second, ask the athlete who won a silver medal in the Olympics


The gorgeous photo above is by Neal Fowler, via Flickr Creative Commons


10 Responses

  1. Pete says:

    Love that last bit. So true.

  2. Elaine Moxon says:

    How true it is that fractions of time rule our lives; appointments we must keep and timetables we must run to, set by someone or something else. I love writing because it is the one, single thing where time can stand still. Lost in writing a minute can seem like an hour, an hour like a day. I used to worry about timescales then realised – it will take as long as it takes.

    Good luck with your launch. Enjoy every moment before, during and beyond.


  3. Great post, Claire. I’m finger to thumb close to a deal for my second novel and I am fully aware that it could still all fall through – I’ve been here twice before this year with this book. The waiting is agonising and this week has been a particularly difficult one for reasons I won’t bore you with here. However, I am also aware that I have no control over such matters; what I do have control over is the strength of my writing and I work hard at improving my craft. During the months of waiting I’ve got on with the next novel and at least this way I can feel that even if number two never sees the light of day there’s always number three… Wonderful post; thank you.

    • claire says:

      I’m crossing everything for you, Laura!
      I can really empathise with you on how agonising the waiting is. Minutes can stretch out interminably, especially if you’re waiting for a ping in the inbox…Brilliant to know you’ve managed to steer your thoughts back to writing in the meantime. You’ve written 3 novels! What an achievement.

  4. Impatience in publishing – yes. And after getting published, you have to wait for the reviews, for the royalties, for the book tour, for the second book to be published!
    On the other hand, you can now have the great feeling of being an author, of this being your JOB. And that’s just the best thing ever.

  5. Just found you in my Twitter emai. To follow. I’m following. I am with Blogger but believe an author web site works as an added feed. So plan to work on new author web in progress. I feel the need to write too and when the muse gets going its hard to stop. When I must stop it’s so hard to get back But I”ve got to get back.

  6. Mike Clarke says:

    Oddly enough, I feel I have more time to write when it’s dark and bad weather outside. Maybe it’s because of the recently unreliable weather but I’m always drawn outside when it’s dry and sunny.

    In the winter I have less excuses to distract myself.

    • claire says:

      Yes! I think we do feel obliged to take advantage of sunny weather. I love a good stormy day when a writing desk by the window and a big cup of tea seems the only sensible way to spend the morning…

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