THE WAITING GAME – TUESDAY WRITING TIP

Do you ever feel like time is skewed?

Despite the fact that we live in such a fast-paced world, we seem to spend more time waiting than ever before…especially if we’re writers.

We wait for agents and publishers to respond to our painfully pondered query letters and meticulously written manuscripts…you know the ones where the story idea came to you in a minute but you spend ten years pulling it all together…writing…rewriting?

Then if we are ‘lucky’ enough to get our manuscript accepted (although years of hard work can’t really be called luck), then we wait for the contract, and the editorial comment. We wait for the cover design, the proofs…and finally, the finished product. But the waiting doesn’t end there. Next we wait for the reviews, the sales figures, the blog responses. We wait to see if our next book will be accepted.

Is it any wonder that writers sometimes feel they are going slowly crazy? I mean, when I was pregnant, I found the waiting hard, but that was only nine months. The birth of a book from initial idea to publication and beyond takes years.

So how do we cope? How do we stop the waiting from eroding our sleep, our confidence, our sanity.

Here’s what I do.

1.    Try not to resort to chocolate…tasty, but not a long term solution (although I’m only human and I do have lapses)

2.    Always have a new Work In Progress that I can immerse myself in

3.    Make a list of where my submissions are so I don’t have to carry this information around in my head and I can try and put it out of my mind.

4.    Keep myself busy doing other things

5.    Find something else to focus my creative energies on (which could be my new WIP, but might be a painting or a sketch)

6.    Walk the dog and the goat…a lot. (Exercise can definitely be a great distraction and it just has a way of making you feel better afterwards.)

7.    Plan a work schedule so I can focus on what’s ahead and realise that my days will be full of challenging, interesting things regardless of the outcomes of submissions or other things I’m waiting for.

8.    Talk with colleagues who are going through the same experience. Nearly every writer you speak to will be waiting for something…even if it’s their next brilliant idea. Sympathy is good. It validates that yes, you really are a patient person, but at some stage, this waiting gets to everyone.

Find a hobby to distract you

9.    Accept that waiting is a major part of this business and that there’s nothing else I’d rather do so I just have to suck it up and move on. There are a lot worse occupational hazards than waiting.

If you have any tips on how to pass the time/stay sane while you’re waiting for responses, we’d love to hear them.

Feel free to leave them in the comments section of this blog.

In the meantime, happy writing…and waiting:)

Dee

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28 thoughts on “THE WAITING GAME – TUESDAY WRITING TIP

  1. Great ideas, Dee. I find a holiday is the only way I can completely escape from the pain of waiting. Even getting away from the computer helps – that way I’m not slavishly opening every email, expecting it to be the ONE, then wallowing in disappointment when it’s not. I think I can handle rejection (especially when it comes with useful feedback), but I have to admit I can’t get used to waiting. Julie

  2. ooh i do like your pinboard! sylvia plath or (maybe it was raymond carver’s first wife) used to have a schedule to track submissions… as a rejection came in it got shipped off somewhere else … sort of a chuck it against the wall and see if it sticks method …

  3. Some great tips on dealing with the waiting time! I have only one tip to add – write some short stories and submit them too. Multiple submissions out all the time not only raises my odds of selling something, it also keeps me from worrying too much about the outcome of any given submission.

    So send out lots of them and keep sending them out. When something comes back, send that editor something else. That kind of persistence can pay off – it did for me in relation to short stories. Story sales help move novels too, the editors know you’ve already dealt with an editor once and were able to handle editorial changes.

    Robert

  4. Hey Dee

    Great blog as always.

    Waiting is just part of a writers journey – always. Like you, I think on it not as spare time but time to get to work on the next story, sew, garden, tidy the office, do something else towards my own professional development…forget about the submission and carry on with life.

    And wait….

    Bye 4 now
    Tina

  5. Thanks, Julie,

    A holiday is a good idea, but I’d have to be on holidays all the time if I was going to use that solution:) I agree feedback is good, rejection not so good, but waiting….arrrggh!

    Dee:)

  6. Thanks, Simmone,

    Yeah, that’s what works for me. I send them out again straight away, unless I’ve had feedback that something needs fixing. Although I don’t just send them out to anyone. I do my research first…helps pass the ‘waiting’ time:)

    Dee:)

  7. Thanks, Robert,

    That’s great advice. It definitely pays to not have everything riding on a single submission. I was having this discussion recently with a friend who had spent all year working on one book and not submitted anything. I know that works for some people, but I have to have hope. Much as I hate waiting, I have to have something ‘out there’ that I can be hopeful about.

    Looking forward to NaNoing with you this year:)

    Dee

  8. Darn – I can’t eat chocolate or walk the goat?! 😉 Guess I’ll just have to stick with keeping myself busy and work on other writing projects. As you say, there could be worse things than waiting. Once again, more great ideas Dee.

  9. Thanks, Debbie,

    I must admit I know I’m kind of privileged to have a goat to walk:) Not everyone is that lucky:) Hope your waiting proves fruitful in spite of the lack of goats and chocolate.

    Dee:)

  10. Mmmm, well, I can’t walk the budgies, and cleaning out their cage doesn’t have the same romance as walking Molly the goat or Puff the dog! But, like you, Dee, I think it’s most important to have something else in the pipe line to work on (or maybe even two or three!)
    Excellent post as usual, Dee 🙂 xx

  11. Very sensible advice, Dee. The frustration of being frequently told “no multiple submissions” makes the process feel like an eternity at times.
    🙂 JT

  12. Thanks, John,

    You’re right, sometimes the ‘process’ does seem to take forever. That’s where I find it pays to have strategies:)

    Wishing you cause for celebration not frustration:)

    Dee

  13. Thanks as always for your great post, Dee.

    I find throwing myself right into something completely different is the best cure. It takes a few days, but once I’m in the rhythm of something new I quickly forget my worries about the old.

    Thea.

  14. You write a play about two werewolves and you call it, “En Attendant Edward.”

    The original title of Samuel Becket’s play is, “En Attendant Godot,” meaning: what to do, while waiting….

  15. Great way to look at the waiting which, you’re right, is a huge part of the process. I am very interested in this goat. You have a goat? You walk it like a dog? Does it follow you, or do you take it on a leash/halter and lead rope? Who knew 🙂

  16. Thanks, Thea,

    That seems to be one of the things that works best for me too. I find that after a while I can put the waiting out of my mind and focus on the work in progress.

    Dee:)

  17. Thanks, Susanna,

    My goat is called Molly. I don’t need a lead, she just follows along behind, trots down the road after the dog. She dawdles on the way but she’s like one of those riding school horses, and bolts on the way home. She is a bit of a personality. One day my son didn’t close the front door properly and I walked inside and found Molly walking around the lounge room checking things out. She likes to be involved and even hops in the car if you leave the back open:)

    I had her free ranging for a while and every morning she came to the front door to say “Good Morning”. She tapped on the glass with her horns until I went out and gave her a pat.

    Don’t be surprised to see her pop up in one of my stories one day:)

    Dee

  18. Hi Dee,
    The Waiting can be the most soul-destroying part of the publishing game.

    I’d like to share a “trick” for keeping positive.

    At the end of each week, I scribble down all my achievements and keep them for reflection.
    This gives you a BIG “boost”.
    Karen x

  19. I think the testing of our patience through praticing the waiting game continuously, is for us writers, as rejections are for developing buffolo strength hide; character building. The only time I don’t like being told to wait is by my husband. His requests for hanging on seem to unravel my otherwise neatly wound up balls of patience in explosive ways.

  20. I think you’re right, Dimity,

    This business is designed to build character or as my mother used to say, “intestinal Fortitude”:) But yes, patience is reserved for certain things:)

    Happy waiting and writing:)

    Dee

  21. Lots of great tips here, as always! They are all so useful (except, unfortunately, walking the goat as I don’t have one of those…yet). My ways of coping with waiting have mostly already been mentioned, except perhaps for a general state of mind. I like to remind myself often of why I write – primarily for enjoyment and fulfillment. This affirmation helps me to get my mind off waiting for responses to submissions, and encourages me to get on with other writing projects and my other interests.

  22. Thanks Julie,

    Hmmm, perhaps the goat tip isn’t that practical for most people. I guess those without goats need to find metaphorical ones. That’s a great tip of yours – reminded ourselves why we write…because we love it…and it’s who we are:) Thanks for the reminder.

    Dee:)

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