Monday, June 6, 2011

The Joys of Waiting

or, What I've Been Doing Lately.

With Cassandra away on tour, Holly and I have been manning the office.  We've painted a quasi-magnetic chalkboard, rearranged the furniture, and plowed through stacks of fanmail in the constant battle to "get ahead."   Of course, this involved many discussions about the business and the mess I'm getting myself into life I want to live.

Because, no matter what I've done this past week, the majority of my time has been spent waiting.
Oh, that's not to say I haven't been busy.  I've been away to visit friends' graduations, have spent hours designing a logo for my circus company, and somehow managed to get booked for a weekend photoshoot in Detroit.  I've also sent out nearly two-dozen queries, received five manuscript requests, started the next book in my series, and decided to apply to grad school.  I like keeping my plate full.  My acupuncturist likes it as well.

Even with a life that doesn't seem to stop running on all cylinders (no joke, my favorite quote is from a boss: "Vacation is like work, but boring"), I still feel like I'm standing still.  And this, apparently, is the joy of being a writer.

Writers wait.

We wait to hear back from our critique group or friends brave enough to read our manuscripts.
We wait for responses to queries.  And, if we hear back positively, we double or triple our waiting time to hear back on the manuscript.  (Let's not forget: the literary world doesn't keep business hours.  Responses can--and have--come in at 4am on Tuesday or 8pm Sunday night)

And during this, we try not to second-guess ourselves.  It's perfectly fine that the agent who requested your book ASAP hasn't responded in three weeks.  In fact, it can actually be a good thing, because there's a chance it means they're taking their time to read it all the way through.  We don't need to gut the entire manuscript and apologize to every agent we spoke to because we suddenly realized we should just stop pretending and find another career.  Our writing isn't crap, even though waiting it out feels like it's spelling the opposite.

According to Holly, the waiting is the only constant in a writer's--even a successful, published author's--life.

That said, you can bet I'll overjoyed when this particular wait is over.

2 comments:

Maggy said...

Reading this inspired me...to not give up my writing...even if I only write for myself...I'm more than sure that the waiting will be worth it...because the time is going to be the PERFECT ONE...*good things happen to those who wait*

A. R. Kahler said...

I'm glad. :)
Robert Heinlein has a mantra in his book, "Stranger in a Strange Land" : Waiting is.

I haven't read it in ages but I seem to remember those two words being profound.

They also say that you should only write for yourself, and worry about publishing later.
I try to buy into it, but it's kind of impossible. Still, the writing's the hard part!
I'm just whining cuz I hate not knowing...

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