Thursday, January 21, 2010

How Do You Deal With The Waiting?


I have to say the thing I hate most about being a writer are those interminable waiting periods.
There are so many of them.
First you send out your query letters to agents, if you decide you need one, and by the way, you do.
Response times can vary and you just never know if you've picked the 'right' agents to send your letters to. Part of you hopes you'll get a no because you can't remember if this is the one with the ten cats in Queens or the one who reps Oprah. Seriously, if you've done your homework, you won't find yourself in this ugly predicament.
Okay, waiting period over. You get THE CALL. You have an agent.
Yippee!!
But guess what?
Cue Carpenters song, "We've Only Just Begun..."
In my case, I did a lot of edits. My agent did a lot of edits.
The sending back and forth takes, well, a while.
But eventually when the perfect book (by the way there is no such thing and if anyone tells you there is, they're lying) is delivered.
And sent out.
Guess where that puts you?
Oh yeah, that waiting room.
I know it well. I can tell you exactly how many tiles are on the floor, the shade of wall color, the view out the window as I stare at it day in and day out and day in and day out...
Oh me. Why am I doing this again?
I'm currently into week two of my last proposal being sent out. Scored one full manuscript request, go me, and four passes. I also have a second manuscript out there with three pubs that I'm waiting to hear back on.
You just never know what's going to come around the corner, right?
My phone isn't ringing.
I get the bad news via email, the good news via phone.
Well, that's not entirely true. I heard about the full request via email.
I'm pretty sure if it's really, really good news, that phone is gonna ring with a Colorado number popping up on the Caller Display screen.
And so I wait.
I try to focus on other things. I'm trying right now to get started on a new book idea, but I find it really difficult to immerse myself in it when I'm only half paying attention.
I know I need to get over this. I mean, if this is what I'm going to do for the rest of my life, I need to write more than two books.
But I'd really, really, really like to sell one.
Just one. That's all I ask. Then we'll talk.
I'm probably not good company when I'm in the waiting room. I'm cranky. I exude gloom and doom to hide the fact that I'm secretly planning my appearance on Oprah.
And I refuse to cook. Oh wait, that's pretty typical anyway.
But all that to say, ugh. I need some help.

How do YOU deal when you're in the waiting room?

5 comments:

Katie Ganshert said...

I'm waiting too, my friend! And you're right. There's nothing fun about it. Once you figure out how to do it well, could you give me a call and let me in on the secret?

Richard Mabry said...

Cathy,
I ache for you, because I've been there, too. But someday you're going to get that call from Colorado. Before then, let me give you some advice. Keep writing. Have as many novels stored up as possible, like a squirrel stowing away acorns for the winter. That way, if the publisher says, "series," you're more than ready. And if they don't say it, you've still had lots of practice and have some more proposals to go out.

jenness said...

How do I deal? Play the music really loud. Actually clean my house. Take a break to relax and not feel guilty. And then have a fun new scene for a new story hit you. If I could just figure out how to make that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach go away, it would be a great plan. :-)

Wendy @ All in a Day's Thought said...

I always love your honesty. Go you. I anticipate being in your shoes someday in the future and I know it will make me pace.

The thing that has helped me in times of waiting it to get wrapped up in another project I'm passionate about (whether that be a new book or refinishing furniture...)

Here's a philosophical thought for you (just what you wanted, right?)--We're all in the waiting room here on earth. Heaven is when we've "made it."

Your day WILL come. Hold to hope.
~ Wendy

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Oh dear, this does sound bad, Cathy. I'm praying for you!!

I'm in a different waiting room right now. One God has sent me to--the editing waiting room that turns very slowly and I'm having trouble dealing with the slow pace. Avoiding it really. It does help to confess and realize that it isn't really God telling me to stop, just assume a different pace with my writing. 2010 is my slow down year and I'm to use it for editing. Now I really need to schedule that 1 hour a day just for editing any of the five manuscripts I have out there.

I'm going to pray that God puts a big wopping story idea in your head and that it takes care of the waiting!!!