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Monday, June 3, 2013

Writers Hate the Wait


Last week I talked about starting a New and Improved Life, and I kept that momentum rolling by attempting to secure a New and Improved living space. In the process of applying and awaiting approval on the new place, I discovered something about myself.

I HATE waiting.

Seriously. I have all the patience of absolutely nothing on the planet when it comes to an important life change sitting on the horizon. Hope taunts me with its close-but-not-yet-ness. My thoughts drift to daydreams of how cool it would be to get approved, my pulse rate hits the ceiling every time the phone rings, and I'm a distracted bundle of nerves in general. 

All this got me to thinking about writing, and how I can behave the exact same way when submitting a manuscript. Hoping against hope for acceptance, dreaming about whether this will be the book to change everything, my heart racing as I check my inbox for email from the publisher...sound familiar?

If I had Nothing Better To Do during this interminable period of torture, I could simply let the daydreams take over and best-case-scenario myself to pieces until I finally get a real answer. In fact, we've indulged a fair share of obsessive planning since paying our deposit. But there are times I feel I might burst if I have to spend one more minute in limbo, and either way, little else is getting done. So, I decided to put my foot down and use the same tricks I employ when waiting to hear back from publishers.

1. Take a Quick Break from EVERYTHING

When I'm getting a case of the can't-take-it-anymore's, it's time to stop the carousel temporarily and hop off. For this, I like distractions such as a movie, favorite TV show, or a really compelling book--anything that will require immersion away from the interminable wait.

2. Clean and Organize

I hate to say it, but this trick from my New and Improved Life post applies here. When I take all that excess freaking-out energy and channel it into something productive, it makes me feel better afterward. (Doubly productive in the case of a potential move.) Plus the clean space has a better energy to it, a peacefulness that helps counter that off-balance feeling that comes with awaiting important news.

The one thing this doesn't do is stop me from worry-warting. Cleaning may channel energy, but since it's fairly mindless work, chances are I may spend much of the time thinking about That Thing I Want. Still, there are times when washing walls is better than bouncing off them.

3. Start on the Next Book

This trick works for most Things I'm Waiting On, as it gives me something to focus on that is both immersive and productive. Granted, getting the the zone can take some doing when my brain is busy spinning about changes ahead, but some calming music and jumping into the right scene (which may or may not be where I left off) can help get me in line.

Your turn! What do you like to do when you're enduring a submission response or other long, crazy-making wait? 


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On Mondays I gab about, well, pretty much whatever I want!

I'm J. Rose Allister, wife, working mom, and the author of over twenty-five books. Somewhere in between one and the next, I love hanging out here on my blog and over on Twitter. Give me a comment or follow-I love chatting with people! And if you enjoyed this post, consider sharing with friends and subscribing for updates.

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