SEND! SENT. Now what? Patience? Grrrr . . . is that a four letter word or what?
For me, like most new writers, patience is not a virtue I possess when it comes to waiting for a response from a publisher or an agent. Yes, I have the patience to write a novel, to revise it, to revise it again, to rewrite, to listen to critiques. But once that project is completed, the idea of waiting for a response brings up a restlessness that is hard to contain. So, what is a writer to do while waiting the 8 weeks or 6 months for a possible rejection?
Admittedly, the first time I sent out a query years ago, I lived near the mailbox. I couldn't help myself. Every time I heard the mailwoman, I rushed madly out the door and pleaded for my mail, and when there was no answer depression set in. It actually got to the point that she called out from the sidewalk when there was no mail just so she wouldn't have to see me cry.
But with time, comes patience--well sort of. Yes, I am older and a bit wiser as to what happens to queries when they hit the slush pile. Not that waiting is an easier--I don't think that will ever happen, but now I have a plan that helps me cope with the waiting game.
- I give myself two days--48 hours, and not one hour more--to enjoy the elation that comes when I've finally submitted something.
- I start a NEW PROJECT! It can be as small as a 500 word article or as large as an 80,000 word novel. The only criteria is that the first page is written on day three.
- I seek out knowledge and support from other writers through their blogs, websites, and from Writer's Retreat (Institute of Children's Writers). Since I tend to procrastinate, I limit myself to 30 minutes a day.
- I begin reading a new novel or two or three in the same genre that my new project is in. This helps me see how other writers handle the pacing, the story line, the characterization, and the subplots.
- I write every day. It may only be a paragraph, but I am writing.
- Finally, I search out other markets, and if my first query is not exclusive, then I submit simultaneous ones.
Oh, yeah, and if you write for kids, make sure you visit the library each week during story time, or volunteer at your local school. Kids say wonderful things, have an exciting outlook on life, and are totally inspiring! Time at school always encourages me to write something I think the kids will enjoy. Keeping busy doesn't take away the pain of the waiting game, but it does make it easier to cope.