Thursday, December 13, 2012

The waiting game and other forms of torture

Last week I read through my critique partners' suggestions on my newest manuscript, made the necessary changes, and handed everything off to my three beta readers.

Then I began the arduous process of hitting refresh every 10 minutes on my email.

No matter how many times I do it, the "hurry up and wait" aspect of the writing game never gets easier. It doesn't matter if you're waiting to hear from a critique partner, a beta reader, an agent, an editor, or the judge processing the restraining order after you grabbed the mailman by the throat and screamed, "I know you've got a book contract in there for me, I know it. CHECK AGAIN!"


As most of you know, I work part-time as the Communications & Public Relations manager for my city's tourism bureau, and the rest of my time is devoted to touching myself inappropriately being an author. It's an ideal schedule most of the time, but today....well, not so much.

I'm not due back at the day job until next Tuesday, which means I have five solid days devoted to writing. You know, writing that manuscript that's currently in the hands of my three beta readers.

Not much I can do with that.

A responsible, career-driven author would be busy plotting her next book or updating her website. I'm sitting here pondering my paper-strewn desk and wondering if there's anyplace I could meet my gentleman friend for lunch where no one would notice I'm still wearing pajamas.

I thought about devoting a day to cleaning and organizing my office. Then a nasty cold sucked all the energy out of my body, leaving behind a lot of snot and a bone-gripping fatigue that takes hold if I fold more than two pairs of socks.

And really, I need to conserve my energy for hitting refresh.

How do you handle the waiting game, either in writing or in other aspects of your life? Please share!

And for the record, that mailman is a lying jerk. Hypothetically.


Caryn Caldwell said...

Ugh. I am so, so bad at waiting. Three things help:

a) A time estimate on when I may hear back (though one is rarely available, and even then it's not accurate).

b) Working on something else (though it can be hard to focus, especially when I know I'll have to go back to the previous manuscript at any time).

c) Getting out of the house, away from the refresh button. There's something very freeing about not being able to check, though after a while I get antsy to go home and see if I've missed anything big.

Good luck! I'm sure your betas will love it!

Shelley Munro said...

I handle it about the same as you. I check the email way too much. I do try to work on the next project, but now I'm in a holding pattern for that one too. Sigh, lots of email checking going on in this house!

Deborah Blake said...

I feel your pain. (But nothing else of yours. That would be icky. Or at the very least, inappropriate.)

I killed myself finishing the current WIP in time to get it to my agent so that she could read, send me edit notes, and we could get it out on submission before the publishing world disappeared for the extended holiday season.

And when it took her longer than planned to read and get the edit notes back to me, I killed myself again doing the edits so I could get it back to her. In time for...well, see above.

Needless to say, I'm still waiting for her to reread and get back to me. *refresh* *refresh* *refresh*

Deborah Blake said...

None of the above should be taken as criticism of my agent, BTW. She's got a very full plate.

It's just the twitching that gets me...

Anonymous said...

I get impatient with the process too, and it is hard for me to sit still while waiting. Video games can pass the times as well as reading, going to the mall, hanging with friends and it will keep you from hitting the pesky refresh button. Going to a bar can help to, and you can use that to relax and hangout with friends and people watch.

Neurotic Workaholic said...

I've never been very good at waiting. I think that's one of the reasons that waiting in line irritates me so much. But one thing that helps is doing something that I enjoy while I'm waiting, like reading a good book or listening to music or making a list of all the things I'd like to say to my loud neighbors. (Maybe I'll slip the list anonymously under their doors someday.)

Pet Memorial said...

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Judy,Judy,Judy. said...

When I was younger I had the patience of a saint.
I hit 50 and all that went right out the window. I am so impatient now.
You'd think it would be the reverse, right?