15 January 2012

Hurry up and Wait!

One of the biggest stresses a writer can go through is waiting to hear back on a project. Whether it's a novel, a poem or nonfiction as soon as it goes into the waiting pile at an agent or publisher the clock starts ticking and the stress begins to build.
Is it good enough? Will he/she like it? Will he/she BUY IT???

And the classic "Do I SUCK At This And No One's Told Me Yet?"

It's easy to go quietly nuts over this – or not so quietly, which is usually when I'm running around the living room yelping like a madwoman while my husband reassures me that Yes, People Do Buy Your Books. It's sort of akin to checking your sales on Novelrank hourly.

Waiting is a part of life – a horrible, annoying part of life. We wait for streetcars, we wait for children to be born, we wait for our home team to hit the field.

But waiting to hear back on a project can be insane.

Depending on the publisher or agent you could be waiting months or even a year – and longer doesn't necessarily mean an acceptance.

This, of course, leads to all sorts of writer insanity. We get that nervous eye twitch, checking our email every three hours and dashing out to pick up the mail before the postman even has it in his hand. We drink enough coffee and tea to sink the Titanic and nibble on chocolate bars nonstop. And if we're unlucky enough to get that rejection we'll mope around the house like you've killed and stewed our favorite animal.

What do writers do to survive? Well… we write.

I know, I know – it's like a drug addict saying the best way to live is to stay high all the time. But it's not the same, I swear.

We write new stories. We work on old stories and improve them. We send out even more works for possible rejection.

In other words, writers are like sharks. If we stop moving, we die.

So if we seem a little psychotic at times or wander in circles muttering to ourselves, please understand – we're just waiting.

Now you'll have to excuse me. I just spotted the mailman at the top of my street and have to go to the basement as per the rules of my restraining order…

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