Thursday, March 27, 2014

THE WAIT

Caitlin here. I was originally going to talk about which was worse: the wait or the rejections. However, I did an informal poll over Twitter, with about thirty responses, and it was unanimous. The wait is much, much harder.

That had been what I was leaning toward too. In fact, I’ve gotten some rejections that made me giddy they were so positive. And, as for the soul-hurting rejections, at least you know. You can deal with it by taking a long shower, going for a long walk, or building a long, miniature house out of Lincoln logs. Whatever makes you feel better. And then you move on.

But the wait. THE WAIT. I hate it.

You just want your email to ding but it doesn’t!! It refuses to ding. So you do what you can do. You stalk twitter feeds and wonder why an agent with your full is tweeting about her favorite brand of yogurt instead of reading your brilliant MS. You refresh your google analytics five times in ten minutes and then visit your own site just so you can stop looking at the “0” for visits. You read an interview by the editor and slam some foreheads (okay, just yours!) into some desks because he said he wanted projects with violet Victorian dresses and construction-themed cakes and yours has violet Victorian dresses and construction-themed cakes!!! So why isn’t he reading it! Was he lying about wanting violet Victorian dresses and construction-themed cakes??  Why would he do that!?

You turn back to your empty email box, take a deep, cleansing breath and shake your head. This is so silly, you say to yourself with a chuckle. Agents and editors are busy. Be patient. It's okay. Yes, you "convince" yourself to move on...right before you dive back into your twitter feed.

Early on I used to kid myself and say I was doing research. I should know what this agent/editor is tweeting—every.single.tweet—if I want to work with them. But, the truth is, it’s horribly unproductive and makes an already hard wait much more excruciating than it needs to be.

I’m not saying I don’t still fall victim to these, um, let’s call them “tactics,” because, oh…I do! But after having gone through a few waits, I’ve learned a few tricks:

  • Write something else. You’ve heard this before. It’s because it is the best antidote to THE WAIT. And it’s just a smart thing to do.
  • Read amazingly good books. The kind that don’t just keep you up at night, they wake you up in the morning with their pesky, yet-unresolved plot points (and I’m not a morning person). The kind that you get so caught up in, you forget you have to go to work in…twenty minutes ago. And, hmm, employment matters aside, weren’t you waiting on something. An email of some sort? Oh well, back to this great book!
  • Hang out with friends and family. You finished a book! Reward yourself! Treat yourself to the things you enjoy most.
  • Make a list of everything you want to get done before whatever you’re waiting for happens. Then it’s like a race! I have to get X, Y, and Z done before so and so gets back to me, so I better get moving! Bonus points if X, Y, and Z involve violet Victorian dresses and construction-themed cakes.
  • Remind yourself that life is short and, if you are successful this time, you just have another “wait” ahead of you. Publishing is waiting. You wait for an offer from an agent. You wait for an offer from an editor. You wait for your cover reveal. You wait for your advance book reviews. You wait for the book to publish. You wait for…..etc. etc. etc.  And you don’t want to wait your whole life. You want to live (and write). So, you know, get on that.

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How about you guys? Have you learned any other ways to beat the wait?

Karlie: Number four on your list is my favorite thing to do when I'm waiting for anything. It just seems to work so well! Glad to know I'm not the only one. :)

Another thing that helps is going for a very long run. Or telling myself that I'm only checking my email twice today, end of story. 

And I'm usually working on at least two projects at once - so that helps keep my mind off of it, too. I'm one of those people that are really bad at waiting in general, LOL.

Lisa: I'm pouncing on your number two trick. So many of us forget that reading is so important. If we don't read, it's like a playwright (yes, that's the correct spelling; I would've never guessed) never watching plays, a cook who doesn't like to eat, a teacher who doesn't like kids. Books are the end product of what we do, so we have to read in order to continue honing our craft and familiarizing ourselves with what is getting published. If we aren't reading, we're also being left in the dark about certain cliches or "tired" character traits. Unless you've been reading, you won't know that the readers of the world are tired of really pretty girls who don't know they're pretty. So, we need to read anyway, so why not absorb ourselves in something that will make the time seem to go by faster?

Will that said, I like all of your tricks, Caitlin, and I have none to add. Okay, maybe I'll add something onto one of yours. Spending time with family and friends away from home, away from a cellphone signal, will do wonders for your brain. No cellphone signal will prevent you from checking your email plus it'll allow you to just let go. Destress. Where isn't there a signal nowadays? I recommend Cape San Blas, FL. It's a peninsula. Find a peninsula, they're often short of cellphone towers. Or go to the middle of an ocean on a cruise ship. A signal is hard to come by out there too. Or just restrain yourself from technology. Turn the internet or data use off on your phone. :)




4 comments:

  1. I loved this post! Along with my mini-lecture above on writers' continuing to read, on my personal blog I did a 3-part series on "how" writers can read in order to hone their craft - better known as Active Reading. Hopefully this helps with writerly troubles as well.
    http://lisaslanding.blogspot.com/2013/10/the-first-time-i-heard-any-of-that-i.html

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  2. Uh huh!!! I love what you said about giddy about the positive rejections...at least it's feedback. The silence is deafening sometimes!

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  3. Yes...that's why even form rejections are sometimes nice. They close the loop at least! :)

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  4. Caitlin, great post! I'm with you 100%, and would add to the list: get active in the writer community, either locally or online, and meet some fellow authors. Then, commiserate with those authors (in private, not on social media). It helps!

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