Friday, February 1, 2013


I’ve figured out the key skill you need to master as a writer. Are you sitting down? Do you have a pen ready to write this down?

Take a deep breath.

The key skill you need to master is…


Yep. You heard right. Waiting. (Is anyone still reading at this point? I’m imagining the sound of computers slamming across the United States…right?)

There was a time I thought unpublished writers held the market on waiting. This was during one of those L-O-N-G waiting times in my writing life and I was irritated. Annoyed. Pick any word like those—I was that. It just didn’t seem fair. Wait for months to pitch a story idea. Wait to submit more to the agent or editor. Wait while they think about it. Send in more when they ask for it. Wait again. It was SO unfair. (I’m not prone to drama at all…)

I thought getting an agent or a contract would solve that waiting problem. Only once that contract came, there was still more waiting. I waited for revisions. Labored over those and sent them in, and now I’m waiting again to see if they are good enough.

That’s as far into the publication process as I am right now, but I know if you ask some of the others on this blog, they’ll tell you the waiting doesn’t stop. Every step of this fun, crazy process of writing involves waiting. Some of those stages are easier than others. But everyone has to learn to wait—the sooner a writer realizes that, the easier it is to sit back and wait semi-patiently.

Not the best at playing the waiting game? Don’t worry. I’ve compiled a list of suggestions for you that I may or may not have used at some point. Some of these may be more effective than others. Use with caution. ;)

1.     Check your email compulsively while you wait to hear back about your story. Pretend you’re checking the weather, or the news, or something, rather than pulling up g-mail every 2.5 minutes.
2.     Drink some coffee. I’m not sure how this helps, but it’s coffee, so it must.
3.     Check email again.
4.     Make more coffee.

Or, if you want ideas that have a little more substance behind them:

1.     Work on something else. If you’ve got one story in to an editor or agent, work on another. Preferably something totally different to take your mind off of things.
2.     Pick up a hobby. Maybe in a push to meet a self-imposed deadline to send something off, you’ve been working for hours every day. Use a little of that time and pick up a new hobby. You have to live life to write about it—waiting gives you that time.
3.     Remember your friends who are waiting too, whether it’s writing related or not, and pray for them. Even if your situations are different, you know how they feel.

Happy waiting!


  1. "Those who wait patiently on the Lord shall renew their strength...." (Is 40:31)
    Waiting is such a part of life, isn't it? You'd think we would be used to it after a while but it really doesn't get any easier with time! I asked some friends for feedback on the novel I just finished....and I've been waiting for 2-3 weeks. I wonder if anyone has opened the doc yet???

  2. Coffee covers a multitude of sins....oh wait. I mean, drinking coffee is a virtue...wait. I mean... ;)

  3. I know, isn't the wondering part of waiting the worst? Good verse, though, thanks for sharing!

  4. Yes! I always have thought I've waited for so many things I should be good at it now but each obstacle is its own beast! It never gets easier. You do have to find things to do and keep your mind occupied. I entered a contest last fall and the week I knew feedback was coming I tried to go ten mins a time checking email but usually only made it 7-8, lol!

  5. Tonya, 7-8 minutes between email checking sounds like progress to me! (I say as I sit thinking that I was about to check to see if I have any email about the revisions I sent a few weeks ago...I'm going to resist...) =)

  6. SO true! I'm really glad you're here with us, Sarah!

  7. See I have a Blackberry so I can dinged every time I get an email. I don't know if that's better or worse. I don't have to go physically check email every 8 minutes but every time the ding sounds my heart Oh, technology...

  8. Haha. Everyone else is waiting for feedback on their stuff. I'm waiting for college to slow down enough for me to seriously write. Haha. I currently have 4 papers I need to be working on. Not all due right now, thank goodness. Lol. Still... Hard to focus on a story when you're brain is screaming, "You're getting a grade for your PAPER, next week. Not this. You're not going to get your PAPER done at this rate!!!" Yay... College. :/