The Waiting Game

I’m not a patient person.

I hate waiting—–in line, for an email response, for my boyfriend to purpose—- I want instant gratification. I fall in-between a Generation X’er and Millennial, one of those horrible people who rely too much on technology and would not know what, God forbid, they would do if forced to unhook from the internet for more than a day. I’m used to instant text responses, to 30 min or less email replies, and to live streaming videos. If I can’t get something when I want it, I take matters in my own hands and get it done. Hence why my boyfriend is now my husband, and has been for the past 16 years. I proposed to him. The year after we graduated from high school, because gall darn it, I got tired of waiting on him.

Don’t even ask what it was like to wait NINE months to see each one of my babies. Just know it was BRUTAL, even with the sonogram sex reveal.

Writing, or more specifically, the industry of writing and publication, forces me to do that which I loathe: WAIT. And with a big fat capital “W”.

My young naïve self sent in my very first query thinking I’d hear back from the agent in an hour, maybe two. I’d at least get a note saying she had received my submission and would take a look at it–right?

Sorry, let me wipe the tears out of my eyes, cause girl, I’m still waiting.

The writing world does not run on my time. It is a professional business, and as such, runs on its own schedule, which, at times, can be slow. Really slow. And sometimes stand still slow.

That doesn’t mean, however, things do not get done. They do. But it happens at its own pace, often times much slower than many of us used to instant feedback, would like. I’ve learned, after waiting days, weeks, months, YEARS for a response, that publishing a book takes time. Hearing from an agent or an editor takes time. Rome wasn’t built in a day, my friend, and just like it took you months and maybe even years, to write that first book baby, it takes an equal amount of time, if not longer, for your book to be discovered, published, or represented.

Waiting to hear back on your proposal can be heart-wrenching. You may think you might die if you don’t hear back from your editor or agent in the next week. But you will survive. You might click that refresh button on your inbox every 60 seconds, but that doesn’t make things go faster. It actually makes it go slower. If you really want time to go by quicker, write. Delve into that next project. Write the next chapter. Stock up on blog posts. Whatever you do, don’t sit there and stare at the screen while biting your nails into bloody stubs. It doesn’t bring a faster response. Trust me, I’ve tried.

What does, is working. Staying busy. Doing that thing that made you happy in the first place: WRITING.

I can’t promise you’ll get a response. But I can promise that you will wait for one. My mom always said good things come to those who wait. And she’s right. While not every response will be one you wish to hear, the good ones– the acceptance letters and contract offers–are worth the wait.

Take a breath. Relax. And remember–waiting is a good thing. It’s a part of this business, and the sooner you accept that, the sooner you can get started on the next project. That way, when the business knocks on your door, rings on your phone, or emails you that acceptance letter, you can’t be blamed for keeping anyone waiting.

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