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There was a time I thought unpublished writers held the market on waiting.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.