I once read an article that estimated that humans spend one third of their lives waiting. Waiting in line, waiting in traffic, waiting for service, etc. If you’re a writer, you wait longer than that. You wait in the query trenches, you wait in the submission trenches, you wait for your book to be published. You wait for ideas to come to you and you wait for plot holes to work themselves out.
So how do you get through the waiting without letting it drive you crazy? I’ve made a handy list.
How to Wait
- Know before you go into the thing (writing, querying, submissions) that you’ll be waiting. Be prepared.
- (Being prepared doesn’t help, btw. It’s just something people say to make you feel better.)
- ALWAYS always be working on something else. When you’ve finished a book and are waiting for it to move along in the publishing process, start your new book. DON’T sit around waiting for that first book to get some traction. Get to work on your next project. This is not a drill. DO IT.
- Stay busy. Clean the house. Wash your car. Organize your bookshelves. Busy minds can’t stress over waiting.
- (Just kidding! Your mind totally can and will stress no matter what you’re doing!)
- Take a hot shower. Daydream about your newest book.
- Take a walk. Think weird things about the stuff your neighbors keep in their yards.
- Read. ABR. Always be reading. This is my advice for every thing ever. Reading enriches your mind, fills your free time, and supports other authors. When in doubt, read.
- Coffee break with a fellow writer. Meet up with writer friends and share horror stories over how long you’ve each been waiting. Drink lots of coffee. Laugh, talk about books, commiserate, have fun.
- Go to bed early. You can’t constantly check your email when you’re sleeping.
- Sleep in. You can’t constantly check your email when you’re sleeping.
- Life your life. Don’t pass up opportunities to spend time with family and friends just because you’re waiting on book stuff. Go to the zoo, go see a movie. Have fun. You’re alive, so enjoy it. There will always be more time for waiting.
- Write a blog post about waiting! I know from experience that it kills about fifteen minutes of time when you would otherwise be checking your email, hoping for book news.