Time: An Enemy to Writers

I quietly anticipate word from a publishing company to see if it has accepted my new YA novel.

I wrote it in a year which, by my usual standards, is quick. It helped that I had written the thing in my head and I knew exactly where it was going and so the writing came easily. This, I know, is every writer’s wish.

But writing doesn’t always evolve so fluently. And, even when the writer knows where the story is taking him, he might be bogged down with a lot of research. After all, we do want our facts to be accurate so our books are realistic. Plus, we don’t want anyone claiming that we are providing false information. That could be embarrassing.

All of our writing takes time and, even in a year, the world changes drastically. Also, there are thousands of writers out there and the possibility that they have the same inspirations for subject material as us is pretty high.

This is what worries me the most: a writer publishing his book before mine, and having a very similar plot to mine. Even if the writing techniques are different, my book, coming out after his book, reeks of plagiarism.

Thus, time is surely an enemy to the writer. We can only work so fast and when we cannot keep pace with the more industrious writers who have similar ideas, this can be frustrating.


Take my YA novel, for example. My original title was Adrift, a clever one I thought because not only does it describe a physical element of the book, it also reflects the troubled thoughts of the main characters.

Then along comes Paul Griffin with a YA novel, bearing the same title and one slightly similar plot line.

I didn’t get too discouraged. I have another title in mind and my story veers in a different direction than his.

But time and timing, as you can see, had an effect on my writing.

It’s as if we writers are in a foot race and the person with the fastest time wins.


About randycoates

Randy Coates graduated from the University of Waterloo with a bachelor of arts degree and went on to acquire his teacher’s certificate at the University of Western Ontario. He is currently an elementary teacher in the Toronto District Board of Education.
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