Monday, January 26, 2015

Perpetually waiting

I've become very good at waiting.

Before I signed with an agent for the first time, I usually had a few queries out at a time and maybe a few short stories being considered. The only thing I really expected to see in my inbox was letters that started with "Thank you but unfortunately." Sometimes the responses would startle me by asking for a partial or full manuscript. Eventually one of those letters turned into a request for a phone call and an offer of representation.

It's kind of one of those things you don't really know what it will feel like when it happens. Like, you're always expecting that one day someone will say yes, and then they do and you're like "oh."

"Oh, okay."


Since then, the waiting has continued, but it feels different.

I know what yes feels like. I've since gotten to "yes" on another agent offering me representation, a book deal, and several short stories and short nonfiction pieces. I have developed a cautious expectation of seeing "yes" in the inbox instead of "no." And that's pretty nice--developing the confidence to know that they won't be rejections forever and they do sometimes turn into actual publication offers and I will be able to handle it when it happens.

But I've also been waiting for a very long time.

I'm waiting for updates on when we start edits for the paperback release. I'm waiting for news from my agent on whether any publishers have nibbled on my fantasy trilogy. I'm waiting for news from my agent as to whether she wants to represent my next book. I'm waiting to find out when an accepted short story is going to be published. I'm waiting for verdicts on half a dozen short stories.

And I've developed this fizzy feeling of always expecting someone's opinion to hit my inbox any minute.

It comes and goes. Sometimes I'm sure that it's going to happen any minute, and I'm keeping the inbox open in another window all day, eying it to see if that (1) pops up to notify me of a new message, flipping out when spam filters in. And sometimes I feel like it's a long way off--that I can't expect any news today or this week or this month. Sometimes I see a new message from an editor and immediately think "Oh, who's rejecting me today?" (Spoiler: I've actually thought that immediately before opening a message that said yes.) Sometimes I see a new message convinced that it's going to be good news and it blindsides me with a rejection. Sometimes I just look at the empty inbox and yell something into it to see if it echoes.

But, despite how maddening and heart-rending WAITING is, I think I've gotten to the point where I want to be waiting. Waiting means I always have something new on the horizon. Waiting means good news could be right around the corner, while bad news can be processed and forgotten. Waiting means I always have balls in the air and possibilities cooking. Waiting means even if I'm not actively creating new material right then, I'm also technically not stagnant.

Waiting is exhausting and invigorating at the same time.

Whenever the waiting comes to an end, I know I'll do something to get it going again.


  1. Plenty of writers I have met say writing drives them bonkers. They directly or indirectly reference Tom Petty, saying how waiting is the hardest part of being a writer.

    I disagree. For me, waiting is a creative exercise. It's coal stoking the furnace of my imagination. It makes my mind wander off to characters, scenes, and plots waiting to be ladled from the brew of thought on to a blank word document.

    Thanks for penning and sharing a positive take on waiting.

    1. Thank you, glad you found it relatable and inspiring. :)