On Waiting

cold selfieIt’s been a long winter. Oh, I know, Smarty Pants, it’s been no longer than any other winter. All winters are about 90 days. But, really, it’s felt like years.

The snow. The cold. The cold snow. The ice. The back and forth. The VORTEX!

THE SNOW DAYS!

Okay, Canada, laugh it up. I know you think we’re wimps. Go ahead. I’m not ashamed.

I just want spring. Now. Sunshine and birds and grass. Now.

{Here’s where I insert some clever transition. But I’ve got a sick kiddo and am still on my first cup of joe. So, pretend that this is a smart connection.}

The writing life is all about waiting. Did you know that? It totally is.

We write and edit and write and edit and write some more. Then, we wait. For our beta readers (the first eyes on the manuscript) to go through to tell us all that we missed or what didn’t make sense. Then we edit. Next, we wait for our agents (lovely, beautiful, wonderful, amazing people that they are…I’m not kidding) to read it and tell us if it’s something that could sell in the publishing world. Then we work on the edits they suggest. Then they send the words off to editors.

That’s when the nervous ticks start. The jumping every time a new email comes into the inbox. The doubting we’re good enough. Remembering all that stupid things we’d written into what was sent. Counting the ticks and tocks of the clock.

It’s been 15 minutes! Why haven’t I heard back????

So, what do I do when I’m in the winter of waiting? I keep writing. Put in more and more work. Read so I become a better writer. Force myself to stop obsessing.

When waiting for winter to be over, we never know what kind of spring we’re going to have. If it will rain so much that my neighborhood floods. Or if it will be chilly up until summer begins. Perhaps it will be a sunny spring with early blooms and frisky squirrels.

When waiting to hear back from readers or agents or editors, I never know what reaction I’ll get. If I’ll hear that the whole body of work is “eh” or confusing. That it’s not quite good enough. Or that it’s good and with a bunch of work it could be great.

I just don’t know.

So, I wait. Let myself sit with the anticipation. And try to convince myself that I love this part of the writing life, too.

snow love

How about you? Are you good at waiting? Are you sick of winter? Or are you the kind who prayed for snow? Is there something you’re waiting on? How do you cope?

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10 thoughts on “On Waiting

  1. I have discovered two things about waiting, no, three. Winter is 6 months here in Saskatoon. There is always someone worse off than ourselves. I can’t imagine living in Yellowknife. And if I did, I wouldn’t imagine what it was like to live in Antartica.

    You are only as good as your next book. Even most professional writers have to hurry up to wait – waiting to see if there next book has the chops or not.

    It took seven years to make peace with winter. The secret for me was spending money for a decent coat. I was amazed when I discovered winter had lost its control over me. What will it take to make peace with waiting? This is an honest question because I am sure it can be done. People have done it. Have two projects, so that when one is “waiting” the other can be engaging? Develop a long term hobby that becomes the “other” option to waiting, which may make you want to start “waiting” so you can get to it?

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  2. I am terrible at waiting and I am hating winter now. I didn’t used to hate it but it’s really pushed all the wrong buttons with me. I mean it IS March 14th after all and my arms are tired of what, oh yea shoveling snow this morning!!

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  3. You’re so right, the end of winter is really a time of waiting. A time of waiting for Spring, waiting for winter’s projects to come to fruition. but soon, we hope (!), all will flower. Or at least we will be rejuvenated and start new projects!

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