Ah! I’ve typed “the end” and proof-read and run my story by my critique partners and adjusted and fixed my run-on sentences (like this one), which seem to be one of my particular weaknesses, and now my story is ready to send out into the world.
Or more accurately, my story is ready to send to an editor or agent or contest. And so I send it out.
What a relief! The story is finally finished and gone. I’m glad to see it go because, to tell you the truth, I’m kind of sick of looking at the thing.
On the other hand, I miss it. Because even with all the angst associated with writing it and figuring out the twists and turns and making sure it was consistent and that I was showing, not telling, I’d grown fond of it. I knew it, inside and out. I loved it.
Except of course on those days that I hated it and was sure nobody would ever want to read it and that I should forget about this writing thing and go work in the local laundromat.
But then it’s brilliant, isn’t it? And tomorrow morning the phone will ring and some very wise editor or agent will offer me half a million dollars for the privilege of putting it in print.
(Unless, of course, they send me that “we’re sorry but this doesn’t meet our needs” letter. The fools.)
Any writer knows an answer doesn’t come the next day. Or the next week or month.
Sometimes not even the same year.
So a big part of writing is waiting. Yes, I know, you’re supposed to spend the waiting period working on the next story. But after spending so much time and energy on one book, I find it hard to just slip into the next one. Though I have a ton of ideas, I’m not always sure one of those ideas is going to turn into an actual plot. So I dither…should I work on this one? Or maybe that one? How about fixing up the other one I put in a drawer a few year.
Speaking of drawers…how about if I reorganize the linen closet? Or my underwear drawer? Maybe I should bake some cookies or plant some flowers. Just as when I’m writing, I can find a thousand of things to distract me, only now I’m distracting myself from waiting rather than procrastinating on the writing.
Well, maybe I’m procrastinating on beginning a new project.
Once I’ve finally managed to distract myself and not spend every waking moment—and some dreams—wondering what kind of response I’ll get to my submission, an answer arrives.
Right there in my inbox there’s an email with the name or the agent or editor or contest coordinator, which could contain some really, really great news. Then again, they could be saying “no.”
So I wait to open the email until I’ve had cup of tea and decided I need to scrub the tea stains off of all my spoons and from the insides of all my cups, and then I have to sort out my silverware drawer, and I need to wash my hair or maybe even—shudder—go to the gym for a while.
I study the email header, which tells me nothing, and wonder what if? What if? What if?
What if they like it? They really, really like it? It will be such a relief!
And if they don’t want to buy it, at least I’ll have very organized drawers.
What do you do to tame the anxiety of the wait?