Several people are reading this and busting a gut right now.
"The most impatient person on the planet is about to give advice on waiting?
Now, this I gotta read."
Mock me if you will. They say write what you know.
One of the most difficult aspects of the writing life is waiting for news.
Writing the story is actually the easy part. Because you see, until you've sent it out, you're in the safety zone. But once you put together that proposal and press send, (the mailbox picture above is old school I know, but I love Garfield), you have entered that mystical place that lies somewhere in the great beyond, a little to the left of hell.
The Waiting Room.
What is Agent X going to say? What will Publisher Q think?
What if the email got lost?
What if they like it? What if they hate it?
If I could get a dollar for the number of sleepless nights I've had worrying about the outcome of a single email, I could do some pretty sweet damage at Ann Taylor. I might even get a new Coach purse out of the deal.
You would think, after the first few years of driving myself to the brink of insanity, that I'd get a clue.
Who me? Ha. Hence the reaction to this post from those who know me well.
I'm going to let you in on a little secret.
Checking your email every five minutes does not make it happen.
Sending extremely strong subliminal messages through your computer screen to Editor B or Agent X will not make them respond any faster. Those little dolls you prick with needles don't work either.
The sad truth of the matter is, there is absolutely NOTHING you can do to make the wheels of publishing turn any faster. Sorry.
I hate it as much as you do. Maybe even more.
But, you say, they're getting the stuff by email! It's not like I shipped my manuscript to them via Tall Ship. It's right there!!
Yes it is. And so are a few hundred other peoples manuscripts and proposals. Talk to my agent. I'm sure she'd love to tell you how many emails come through her Inbox in one day. But she doesn't have time because she's too busy sorting through them all and taking care of the important people. Like me.
Okay, kidding. But seriously, once you get a handle on what we're really dealing with here, does it get any easier to put things in perspective?
Not for me. I still hate having to wait, but that's just my nature. And since I know the last thing I want to do is get a reputation for being that kind of author - you know the one who throws a hissy fit when she doesn't get an immediate response from her agent or editor, who constantly calls and emails and wants everything done, like yesterday and oh my gosh could you please just work a little harder because I think we're missing some big opportunities here aND IT'S ALL ABOUT ME!!
So here we go. Accept your fate and move along in the interminably long line with the rest of us. Because wherever you are on this journey, published or not, you will always have to wait for something. Here are some things I do when I just can't stand it a minute longer.
3. Call my best friend and scream and cry some more
Oh, wait. Wrong list.
1. Write. You might think this is obvious, but if you're working away on a new project, you're less likely to dwell on the one you're waiting to hear about. And if you get good news, then you're already ahead of the game. You can show people you're not going to be a one book wonder.
2. Get out of the house. Go for a walk, a run, go to the gym. Do whatever you do that makes you happy and takes your mind off the waiting. I try to walk every day, and even though I will often find my mind drifting back toward the current of frustration, I try to think about other things. Like why the sky is blue and whether I can convince my hubby to take me out to dinner. Again.
3. Do laundry. Yeah, this is a sucky one. But it's a necessary evil and you'd be amazed at how quickly the time flies when you're not having fun. If you have a sink full of dishes, you might want to think about tackling them too.
4. Go to the grocery store. Even if you end up just buying toothpaste, it's better than sitting around twiddling your thumbs. And food is good. You need to eat. Of course this flies in the face of my addendum on #2, but I never said my list was foolproof.
5. Facebook. Hollar! Yes, I have an addiction. But I seriously love Facebook. I spend way too much time on it. I also spend a lot of time reading blogs, and trying to write my own. But to me, it's fun. Cathartic. And nobody can say I'm not writing. So there.
6. Watch a movie. This is becoming harder to do these days, because there just aren't a lot of good movies out there. But I always hear of a few, yes, on Facebook, look them up and give them a try. It's a great way to relax and forget about what you're trying to forget about.
Those are just a few of my ideas. I'm sure you probably have more.
So let's hear it.
What do you do when you just can't take the waiting anymore?