Tuesday, July 12, 2011

On Waiting

Waiting, I've decided, is as much a part of writing as writing is a part of writing. You wait for your subconscious to work out tricky plot points. You wait for beta readers to read through your manuscript. You wait to hear back on your queries, and if you're lucky enough to get a request, you wait to hear back on those. If you're lucky enough to land an agent, you wait to hear back from editors, and on and on and on. You wait and wait and wait, and some days are good, and others aren't so good, and after a while, even on the good days, you start to wonder if maybe, just maybe, you're starting to go a little crazy...

Or maybe that's just me:)

But in all seriousness, I've been thinking about this waiting for a few weeks now and had a few thoughts I wanted to share. Many of you know that I finished Bob's revision about six weeks ago, and since then, I've been--you guessed it--waiting. And the truth is, I didn't think I'd have to wait this long. You always hear these stories about writers who submit their revisions and have an offer within, like, twelve hours. Why don't we ever hear the stories about writers who wait...and wait...and wait before receiving any kind of response?

I suspect it's because those stories aren't as newsworthy. "Writer waits six months to receive an offer of representation" isn't nearly as exciting as "Writer wakes up to agents mud-wrestling in her front yard over her manuscript," and "Writer receives many compliments from agents, shelves project after eight months" never makes the front page (let alone the tenth). And yet having to wait isn't something to be ashamed of. In fact, I daresay waiting is the period of time in which we grow the most.

We often talk about how to cope with waiting (namely, get to work on your next project, spend time with your family, and GET TO WORK ON YOUR NEXT PROJECT), but we don't talk as much about how waiting refines us, how it shows us what we're made of. There's a big difference between waiting and waiting well, and the only way we ever learn how to do the latter is if things don't go the way we want them to (or at least not right away).

I still don't know exactly how to let our waiting change us, how to let it push us to become better people, but I do know we'll never become the people we can be without those opportunities. So I'm trying to look at it that way. I'm trying to see this waiting as a Krista-refining period of time. That way, if I ever achieve this crazy dream of landing an agent (and, fingers crossed, a book deal), I will have achieved even more.

32 comments:

Steph said...

I agree with your post. I've been working on my draft for longer than I really care to admit (darn college getting in the way...) but from my own experience and from talking to others about theirs, patience really is necessary for this profession. I also really think you also need to have confidence, in yourself, your voice, your story. You need to trust yourself. And I've learned way more about that from writing - I guess "refining" myself, to use your word - than from a lot of other aspects of my life.

Anyway. This was a great post, so I thought I'd comment =)

Kelsey said...

I, too, love this post, because I feel like I wrote it! I'm waiting too. And waiting. It's painful, but like you said, it's part of the process.

Best wishes for your journey,

Kelsey
www.kelseysutton.blogspot.com

Bittersweet Fountain said...

I'm sure you're waiting with plenty of grace. If it helps, we're all waiting with you. I may not be just as eager as you to see Bob hit the shelves (no one is more eager than the writer!), but I know I'm greatly looking forward to it. And then we can all brag that we knew you back before you were published. :)

Christie Koester said...

I am SO waiting right now too!!! I can totally relate to your post!

Jess said...

I love the phrase "waiting well." Krista, you do so much for the writing community during your waiting times--that alone earns you the karma needed for a positive response! Hang in there and think happy thoughts :)

Ben Spendlove said...

This is good food for thought.

After my first year of serious writing, I was impatient and scared. I wanted to KNOW if anything would come of it, if the book I had worked so hard on would ever be published. In all my waiting since then, I've settled down a lot.

I still don't know if any given book I write will make it, but I do know that one will. More than that, I know I can wait. (On good days, anyway. I'm not actually waiting for news right now.)

Melodie said...

Krista, I'm right there with you! I'm waiting for an agent response to a submission AND to revise a just finished WIP (needs to sit for a month). One way to wait well is to be totally absorbed in a new WIP...and I'm stumped. The more I try to come up with an Awesome Idea, the more my brain shrinks. If anyone knows brainstorming ideas, please share!

Barbara Kloss said...

Awesome post, Krista, and very timely for me. I've been "waiting" on so many different aspects of my story I'm beginning to feel "waiting" is all I ever do!!

I'm encouraged by your thoughts and I totally agree - waiting is a time for growth and refinement. It's just...hard.

Chantele Sedgwick said...

The waiting is the worst part. And you never get used to it. At least I haven't yet. :)

Melanie Stanford said...

Waiting is tough. I feel like yelling, "Hello! I'm not getting any younger here!" But yeah, patience isn't a bad thing to learn and re-learn and re-learn.

Myrna Foster said...

I like the waiting stories that have happy endings, especially the ones where I feel like I've been waiting with them. Did you see that Natalie Whipple finally sold something? And Beth Revis wrote a lot of manuscripts before she sold Across the Universe. I'm so excited for Natalie, but not as excited as I'll be for you. *hugs*

KL Hallam said...

Very nice post. It has quelled some of my anxiety. Thanks.

Krista V. said...

Steph, thanks for commenting! You make a great point. Being able to stand by your work - and yourself - even in the face of rejection is an important skill to acquire.

Kelsey, thank you. Best wishes right back at you.

Mandy, you're so kind. Thank you. (And I'm looking forward to digging into DESCENT next week!)

Christie, seems like we're all waiting for something. I'm glad I'm not alone:)

Jess, thank you for your encouragement. It's nice to know I've got some people rooting for me:) I'm rooting for you, too.

Ben, that's a wonderful attitude to have. I honestly believe that as long as we don't give up, sooner or later (and usually later), we'll get there. It's the people who quit in the face of rejection who never achieve their dreams.

Melodie, no brainstorming ideas here. I'm absolutely terrible when it comes to coming up with Shiny New Ideas. Maybe that's why I've stuck with Bob so long... :)

Barbara, waiting is so hard! Maybe that's why I decided to write this post. I felt better after I admitted that I'm waiting and it's hard.

So true, Chantele. It doesn't get any easier. There will always be another milestone to reach, another hurdle to overcome. So everyone needs to learn how to be patient, how to wait well, not just those of us in the querying trenches.

Melanie, you hit the nail on the head. I'm constantly re-learning patience:)

Myrna, I did see that Natalie sold TRANSPARENT! It was all over Twitter:) She is such a wonderful example of persistence. Everyone should know her story. (P.S. Thanks for the hugs.)

KL, you're welcome. Thank YOU for the lovely comment.

Caryn said...

I've never been good at waiting, and the query/sub process just makes it all that much harder to be patient. I totally, absolutely know where you are with this. I check my email about a hundred times a day, carry my phone with me at all times, and am addicted to QT. It looks like all this waiting may very soon be worth it, though, and I know it will be for you, too. Good luck!

Elle Strauss said...

Well said and so true! The waiting never ends, but its how it shapes and changes us that matters.

Sarah said...

Very mature outlook. The nice thing about waiting is that it leaves room for hope.

Jennifer McFadden said...

Great outlook on the waiting process; you are waiting well!

A.L. Sonnichsen said...

Great post, Krista. I've thought about this a lot, too -- how to get on with my life so that waiting doesn't control me. Refinement is a worthy goal; the tricky part of true refinement is that we can't control it.

Waiting with you, my friend! :)

Amy

Krista V. said...

Caryn, you sound like me:) Best of luck to you. I hope all this waiting pays off for both of us, too.

Thanks for stopping by, Elle!

Good point, Sarah. Sometimes, when the rejections come too fast, I'm like, "Hey, wait a second. I wasn't finished hoping this one would work out!" :)

Jennifer, I sure hope I'm waiting well. Some days are better than others...

Amy, I'm waiting with you, too. Still have my fingers crossed that we end up with the same agent:)

Tonya said...

So, so TRUE! I wrote a blog post last fall about waiting...I related it being in The Waiting Place (Oh, the Places You Will Go, by Dr. Seuess). I felt like I was going crazy. I soon will be in The Waiting Place again...going crazy. Good luck!

Monica B.W. said...

Yeah, it seems we writers are ALWAYS waiting, right?
I'm sending you awesome vibes! You'll land an agent before summer ends! :D

Krista V. said...

Tonya, Dr. Seuss was a genius, wasn't he? :) Thanks for stopping by.

Monica, I hope you're right. I'm sending awesome vibes right back at you. If you're not already on submission, I imagine you will be shortly...

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Wonderful post, Krista! You are so right about the waiting. It makes me a little bit nuts. Good luck with Bob. :D

cherie said...

Waiting is not for the faint of heart.

;)

Mindy McGinnis said...

Very true. The waiting game is one that we have to get better and better at if we want to not go insane, er... more insane. Or something.

I find that knitting helps!

Krista V. said...

Sharon, I'm glad I'm not the only one who goes a little crazy:)

So true, Cherie.

Mindy, I might just have to take up knitting:)

Lynne said...

Hang in there Krista! (Gatorwriter from QT here).

Your day will come--and likely sooner rather than later--and when it does, you will savor it all the more. :)

Good things come to those who wait, right?!
*fingers crossed for you*
Lynne

Krista V. said...

Lynne, thank you for your lovely comment. This week has been especially rough on me from a querying perspective, so I appreciate your kind words.

Robbin L. said...

Cherish your dreams and live your life with hope that every day will bring -- with every dream come true - another dream!

Krista V. said...

Robbin, thank you for that lovely thought. It reminds me of the lantern scene from Tangled. *sighs* I love that part:)

Dana said...

By the number of comments made on this post it looks like lots of us are waiting. At least we're in good company.I need to learn to wait. I wanted to (and did) send queries out way too early. My book wasn't in it's best form. So after a handful of rejections, I rushed to get it in its best form. But what I really needed to do was to take some time and gain a fresh perspective. In doing so, I felt God speaking to me to start another writing project - a blog. I am having a blast with it. I've learned that when I wait, I also have to listen - to that small, still voice of encouragement. If I hadn't waited, I wouldn't have heard it.

Krista V. said...

Waiting is such an art, Dana, and it sounds like you're learning how to do it well. Thanks for sharing your ideas with us - and good luck with your new blog!