Monday, December 12, 2011

How to Survive WAITING

…and waiting. And…waiting.

Before you ask - oh yes. Agents wait too. Sure, we may be relatively calm about it - we resist the urge to pick up the phone and eagerly ask…well?? Resist the “just checking in!” emails until a reasonable amount of time has passed. Don’t DM our editor friends just PLEADING for an update.

But we are equally as excited about the work we put into the submission world as any writer – and we go equally bat s**t crazy with stalking urges during the “waiting to hear back” process (well…I suppose I shouldn’t speak on behalf of ALL agents…maybe I’m just terribly impulsive and impatient and oh god what if it really DOES suck and I’m just kidding myself here and would it REALLY be so bad just to email NOW or maybe I should start submitting some more just to even out the numbers again but what IF I get an offer and I guess I can wait one…more…day……)

Sound familiar?

Regardless of who you are in the writing world, waiting sucks.

So here are my tips on how to keep you SANE:

1.Start a new project. NOW.

Getting excited about something new will help ease the tension; it gives you something to look forward to, regardless of the outcome at the end of the waiting.

2.Talk to others going through the same process (NOT to others you’re looking to get an answer from, like agents, editors, etc).

It helps to realize…you’re not alone. Just because you’re waiting doesn’t mean it won’t happen.

Word of caution: keep any griping private. Don’t post on your blog about how frustrated you are. Don’t bitch out on that writing forum you think is so safe and anonymous. Keep any correspondence and social networking appearances professional; don’t let it be obvious that you are completely eaten up inside about the waiting.

3.Scour the Internet for inspiring posts about others who survived.

I can’t say this enough: just because it isn’t happening NOW doesn’t mean it will NOT happen. It just may take a while. Listening to the heartache others had to go through will remind you it WILL end…if you persevere and continue to grow.

Here are a few posts to get you started:

Mandy Hubbard
Jessica Souders
Kristin Welker
Stephen King
J.K. Rowling
Dr. Seuss et al

4.Be Proactive.

Another fabulous “P” of publishing. Use your waiting time productively and positively – by being proactive. Research a new list of agents or publishers to submit to. Attend writing workshops and brainstorm revisions. Get involved in other writing community events, like contests, book review blogs, or social networking to build up exposure to yourself and your writing (ahem – phase one of the PR plan!)

Word of caution: DON’T JUST GIVE UP. Don’t fall victim to an “easy way out”; i.e., don’t just choose to e-publish because you’re frustrated with lack of progress. ONLY go those routes if it’s the way you WANT and are PREPARED to go. Sending out masses of new submissions may also be a temporary fix – but it will quickly turn to more frustration and disappointment if you aren’t reflecting on any feedback and possible new directions for yourself and your manuscript first. It may be best, in the waiting phase, to make LISTS of opportunities…and act later.

5.Finally: Allow yourself to be INSPIRED.

Pepper your writing space with inspirational posts to keep you going. Keep an open mind during your waiting process; you’ll be surprised where it will lead you. Don’t substitute griping for growing – ALWAYS think ahead to a next step; don’t get stuck on the bottom rung.