As writers, there’s one thing we do almost as much as writing.
No, it isn’t eat cake.
Think about it. First, we wait for ideas to strike. Next we wait for time to write. Then there are endless hours we spend waiting for the browser to load web history for research. We wait (sometimes a long, long time) for our brains to get into gear. Once we’ve gone through all this waiting and have a completed WIP then, provided your arthritic fingers and hunched back have held out, there is a perfect proof, fit to send to an agent, publisher or to enter into some competition. And thereafter comes the hardest waiting of all.
It can take weeks or months. Sometimes we never hear back after submission. Long, interminable periods of waiting. I’ll confess; patience isn’t one of my virtues. My novel went off to the NWS for critiquing at the end of July and it’s proving a long wait, although I’ve heard the poor organiser has an injury and so the manuscripts are delayed sending to readers. So, all I can do is wait … And wait … And wait.
If I have any fingernails left I need to muster some powers of concentration and keep busy to distract myself and help make the time go quicker. So here’s the plan:-
– Keep on going, keeping on going. It’s important to keep up momentum so I’m getting on with the next project. With the working title, ‘I Believe In Angels,’ I’ve entered the Love Story New Talent Award with my first chapter and I’ve just returned from a weekend trip to Glastonbury where the novel will be set. I spent much of the time secreted in cafes or on the High Street, eating, drinking, people watching and surreptitiously scribbling in my notebook, in the spirit of research. I’m also going to do a couple of short stories and enter them into competitions.
– Block out the crows. Sing in their faces. ‘Tralalalala!’ Try to ignore them and not let self-doubt creep in.
– Ignore the desire to email and check to see if the WIP has slipped off the organiser’s desk and into the waste paper basket, or to send it again.
– Stop reading and re-reading the submission guidelines, asking myself if I got it right, and counting how many weeks since I submitted.
– After months of being a hermit it will be good to catch up with friends and the people I love and who make me happy.
– Catch up on reading. In the words of Stephen King, ‘If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write.’
– Try and stay positive. Make a list of potential agents and editors to submit to.
– Keep it in perspective. Remember the NWS organisers (and Editors and Agents) have a mountain of manuscripts to work through. I’ve spent months and sent my work out there so it’s understandable to feel a little anxious and exposed but that’s all the more reason to keep busy and help pass the time.
So, what strategies do you have for getting through the big wait on any part of your writing?
Hopefully by the next update I’ll have news from my reader. Until then, you, like me, will just have to wait…
Bye for now,