Waiting: It’s the Writer’s Life

What many writers don’t realize is that waiting is a part of the writer life. It’s frustrating, but it is part of the deal and it doesn’t change.  Writing the novel is a task in itself, but it’s also the only part without the wait, so relish it. Once you type those two final words, the game changes and the waiting begins.

Writers wait while critique partners and beta readers read their words. We wait for their feedback and we wait all over again when we make their changes and resubmit. Then comes the querying, and we wait. Partial requests? Wait. Full requests? (Squee!!) and wait.

Here’s where I once misunderstood the complete situation. You see, once you find an agent and sign that contract, the waiting doesn’t end. Your agent needs time to get to your manuscript and time to make suggestions and changes. Then you update and resubmit. The process continues. Even when it’s perfect, your agent still must submit to editors. That means more waiting, and the waiting at that point in the game can be six months or more, so patience really is a necessity. But once you find a publisher the waiting ends, right? Not even close. Writers must wait to work with editors and for cover art and release dates. It’s simply part of the deal. Because I believe most writers are compelled to write and cannot walk away, we have to learn to wait gracefully – or at least productively.

Every writer is in the same boat to some extent. We’re all waiting on something. It’s what we signed up for, or at least it was in the invisible ink.

So, the question becomes what to do while we wait. I’ve tried everything from yoga to archery to gourmet baking. All were fun, but here’s the thing…writers write.  We must. Writers who don’t write, make me nervous. I am of the opinion that the very best thing we can do while we wait is write some more. Every word counts, every sentence created enhances your skill and improves your craft. You don’t need to start another novel, start a blog, maybe just guest blog for a friend, or submit an article to an online magazine. Try your hand at flash fiction or look for an upcoming anthology.

Writing passes the time while you wait, improves your craft, and once you have enough irons in the fire, the wait time is shorter. Someone is sure to get back with you on a regular basis if you have enough submissions going on. It breaks up all the waiting and brings some good news along the way. Fabulous sites like Wow! Women on Writing feature a different writer every Friday. They’ve even let me have the floor a time or two LOL. It feels good to get your name out there and it boosts your confidence.

Another great way to pass the time while you wait is to embrace social media. Networking is a great way to establish a name for yourself in the writing community, build a web presence and drive traffic to your blog. Twitter is a great place to start. I’ve met some of my closest writer friends, beta readers, and favorite authors through twitter. It’s a huge resource that’s greatly underestimated.

In the end, waiting won’t change, but you can embrace the challenge.  Be productive. Enjoy the time away from your manuscript and test your chops. Waiting might be just what you need to discover a whole new part of your writing self. Enjoy!

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