Thursday, April 26, 2012

A to Z Challenge: W is for Waiting




W is for Waiting:    a period of inactivity, as until something expected happens; pause, interval, or delay.  (Dictionary.com)

You’ve heard the expression before.  My writer friend and blogging buddy, Heather M. Gardner even named her blog after it:  “The waiting is the hardest part.”  And damn, if that ain’t that the gospel truth! 

As writers, we spend our days…well…writing, of course, but we also spend an inordinate amount of time waiting.  Waiting for the perfect idea.  Waiting for the right words to come.  Waiting for our critique partners to get our darlings back to us.  Waiting to hear back from agents we’ve queried or from editors our agent has queried.  Waiting to get our cover art, our content r line, and copy edits, our ARCs, our books on the shelves.  It’s unending. 

Wait, wait, WAIT!  Ugh!!!

There can be, and often is, many years between the time we started writing the book and the time the public can buy it.  As an architect, I found it very unfulfilling how long it took me to see a project through to construction and finished product.  That’s why I turned to interior design.  It’s much more satisfying to see your hard work realized in a few short months. 

But writing…  Well, writing is much, much worse.  The mere frustration of it is completely overwhelming.  And it’s all out our control.  There’s nothing we, the authors, can really do to speed it up.  It is what it is.

The best—the only thing really—I can say to alleviate it is:  keep on working, keep on writing, keep your writing friends close and commiserate with them.  They’ll understand.  They’ll help you stay focused on the prize.  They’ll keep you going and motivated.  And lastly, don’t give up.  It’s the tenacious who see a project through to the end.  Waiting is hard, but really, what do you have to lose?                                         

What stage of waiting are you in?  Does it drive you nuts?  What do you do to alleviate the stress of waiting? 

24 comments:

Annalisa Crawford said...

I'm currently waiting to hear back from a publisher, waiting to re-read my completed WIP and also waiting for the component ideas to form a new story!

Yep, lots of waiting.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Good idea to keep working during all those waiting periods. Because you're right, it's constant waiting.

Heather M. Gardner said...

It's unbearable sometimes.

I'm over half way through my second book. I've only just started to write in it again. It's been frustrating but I think I'm in a good place. I hope to hell this one does better than the last one.

Thanks so much for the awesome mention today. To be fair, I stole my line from the Tom Petty song!
Heather

Jack said...

I'm always waiting! Sometimes for critiques, sometimes for query responses and sometimes I'm just waiting for the sake of waiting. It doesn't drive me nuts. It's part of the job and I'm good working on other things while I wait. :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Best to stay busy!

Libby said...

I write plays and screenplays and the whole I'll be self publishing my novel is that I cannot take waiting for another project. Theatres can literally take years to get back to you. It's a killer.

JeffO said...

Waiting on agents. And working on something new. While a secondary idea starts to spawn in my head.

The waiting for agents hasn't been so bad at this point. I suspect if/when someone requests a full (only one partial requested so far) it will be worse. But so far, it hasn't been all-consuming.

Lynn Proctor said...

it seems like i am always waiting--sometimes i don't even know what it is i am waiting for--great post

Kelly Barnes said...

Waiting for agents isn't so hard. You can always work on something else.

Waiting for critiques and edits are the worst because it's hard to move a project forward until you get them back.

Lily Cate said...

I'm waiting on fulls, and working on new books. Always, always working on new books.

McKenzie McCann said...

This is a perfect blogging topic. Writing involves SO much waiting it drives us all insane.

M Pax said...

I hear ya. Doing it myself speeds some things up, but not everything. I wish I could write faster.

The Golden Eagle said...

I usually try to find something else to take my mind off waiting--few things really get the thing I'm waiting for into a back corner where I forget it, but working on other projects and generally not sitting around helps most of the time.


The Golden Eagle
The Eagle's Aerial Perspective

Carrie Butler said...

Ugh. Waiting is the worst. :/

Siobhan said...

Waiting for when my kids grow up so I can actually devote some quiet time to writing ... but I don't want them to grow up!

Liza said...

Just keep writing my dear...that's all I can do...though my waiting is minor compared to yours. If I'm ever waiting for a book to come up...well, I don't know how I will!

Glynis said...

I am waiting for after May 7th when the first of the reviews roll in. Gulp.

Catching up on your posts, Nancy.

Donna K. Weaver said...

This made me smile, especially after I got the full request from a publisher I queried--which took nearly 3 months--and the secondary review will take another 3 months. Ugh. It's like when I was in the Army. We'd have to forever "hurry up and wait."

L.G.Smith said...

I don't really know which is worse, waiting to hear back from a critique partner or from an agent on a query. It's all waiting, waiting, waiting. I've gone gray waiting. Blah.

Lynda R Young said...

I'm currently waiting in every stage there could be for a writer, all at the same time, lol!
...and sigh.

Al Penwasser said...

I've found it's always best to stay focused on the next project. That way, the pain of waiting isn't as intense. Then, when you hear back from a prospective publisher (in my case, it's always been negative), it's kind of a surprise.

Chuck said...

Mine is simple...I am waiting for your book to publish!!

Nancy Thompson said...

Aw, thanks, Chuck! You're sweet!!

Lisa Regan said...

See every blog post I've ever written. Hah hah hah hah! There are a thousand doors and only one of them is unlocked. The waiting is truly the worst. All I can say is that I sure don't mind waiting on the other side of a book deal!