If you follow me on Twitter (if not, you’re missing out on a whole lot of anxiety I mean fun), you knew this blog post was coming. Considering the responses I got from that tweet, clearly waiting is a certainty in publishing. This blog post is meant to help you expect the waiting. (You’re going to wait whether you’re querying to agents, submitting to publishers, or waiting to hear from your own agents or editors.) More importantly, it’s to help you accept the waiting. So:
One: Be prepared.
The first thing you can do is ensure you’re prepared when you finally hear from whoever you’re waiting for. If you’ve submitted a proposal to a publisher, make sure the manuscript is complete. If you’ve queried an agent, make sure you’ve prepared whatever they’ve outlined in their submission guidelines. I’m the sort that has these things prepared before I even get in touch with someone (because, anxiety). But if you’re not, this will help while you’re waiting.
(Side note: I’m 100% certain being prepared helped me get the Carina Press contract. When my manuscript was requested, my cover letter, synopsis, series outline and manuscript were ready. I sent them in the day after the editor got in touch. A month later I had an offer. Preparation can give you an advantage, too.)
Two: Keep busy.
I know how tempting it is to keep checking your email. To refresh it. And then check it again. And again; and again. (No, this isn’t familiar – why do you ask?) Frankly, a more constructive use of your time is to keep busy. Once you’ve prepared your submission, move on. Move forward. You can’t put your life on hold while you’re waiting for someone who might not ever respond (it happens). So, research your next project; start your next book; or submit to the next publisher or agent. Do whatever it takes to keep your mind busy.
Three: Remember it’s the writing that counts.
This is probably the best thing you can do. Because – vitally – no one and nothing can keep you from writing. That’s a power YOU have. That’s what’s in your control. Not other people’s response time. Certainly not their responses. But you can keep writing. You can keep growing. You can challenge yourself and take risks with your writing. And honestly? You deserve to. Because you’re that special.