We’re told writing a book is the easy part. ‘Pah!! Wait til you try and publish it!’ they warn us.
And then, after months or years of carefully honing our precious stories we emerge from hibernation, with arthritic fingers and hunched backs, and realise we’ve reached that stage. It’s judgment time…
We spend endless hours waiting for agents and editors to get back to us. Sometimes it can take weeks, months even. In the meantime, we have to continue our lives, our daily duties, paid jobs, all the while trying to remain down-to-earth, yet secretly hoping… hoping.
I’m currently slap bang in the middle of this process and I’ve learned you have to hold strong, keep real and avoid the following behaviours at all cost.
THE NO NO NO LIST
1. Race to your computer every time you hear the ping of a new email.
2. Dissect your blog stats to determine whether an agent/editor might have visited to check you out.
3. Stalk them on Twitter in the hope they’ve mentioned your manuscript.
4. Email them the next day to ask whether they’ve had a chance to read it.
5. Shower them with gifts of smelly soaps and chocolates. Whilst they might appreciate the gesture, it will do nothing for your manuscript.
6. Dream of six-figure advances, velvet carpets, champagne and book launches in Paris.
7. Read published books in your genre that you don’t rate highly to convince yourself yours is a sure thing.
The good news is, you don’t have to sit about twiddling your fingers. There are things you can do to make the waiting easier.
THE YES LIST
1. Keep busy! Start a new writing project. There’s nothing like distraction to make time fly.
2. Send out other material or enter competitions so that, should the rejections roll in, you always have something else to look forward to.
3. Read! If you’re the kind of person who likes to take a break between projects, fill your writing time with reading. After all, in Stephen King’s words:
“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write.” SK (Click to Tweet)
4. Research other agents and editors that you can send your work to should it be rejected on the first round of submissions.
5. Throw yourself into your day job. Organise a party. Train for a marathon. Anything to keep your mind off those responses.
6. Be social! You’ve probably spent months in hibernation, immersed in an imaginary world amongst imaginary characters. This is a great time to catch up with your real friends who’ve probably assumed you’ve joined a cult.
WAITING IS PART OF EVERY WRITER’S CAREER
The writer’s journey is not a quick one. It’s tempting to try and find a short cut, but we have to remember that waiting is part of every writer’s career.
Editors and agents are busy looking after their clients and honing through mountainous slush piles.
It’s only natural to feel agitated at times; you’re feeling exposed, judged, the future of your work balancing in other people’s hands.
However, if you keep yourself busy and active, fill your life with alternative interests and projects, the time will pass more quickly.
HOW DO YOU COPE?
Tell us your stories and tips. How do you cope with waiting periods? Share in the comments.