One of the requirements of being a writer is being a good waiter. Not a restaurant waiter, but one who waits. You post or mail your writing for critiques and beta reads and wait for your reader to finish and give you feedback. You wait for a first draft to “season” before making edits. You wait for a submission to be rejected or accepted. You wait for publishers’ edits. You wait for your publication to be released. You wait for reviews and sales. You wait for whatever financial remuneration you are due for your sales. Wait, wait, wait.
All this adds up the longer you write. The trick is to have many balls in the air so that while you’re waiting on A, you are working on B, then can move on to C, then return to A, and so forth and so on. Waiting is best remedied by diversity. You move from writing to editing to marketing, often within the span of a single day. I like this because I tend to be super intense and can easily chisel deep ruts in my routines. Like Tyrell, the toymaker in Bladerunner said, “The light that burns twice as bright burns for half as long.” Waiting is a good thing for me if only to keep me from burning half as long.
Sometimes waiting goes beyond reasonable bounds. So many writers I’ve met have stories of the submissions sucked into black holes, the ones that garnered no responses, both with or without warning (ie “if you don’t hear from us within x weeks, we aren’t interested.”) Usually I am patient, but late last summer, I did withdraw a submission. What had promised to be a ninety day wait window stretched to four then five then six months. I resubmitted elsewhere and reset my waiting clock. Thankfully, I received an acceptance, but since it was an anthology, the publisher kept accepting stories until it filled…nearly three months after I sent in my story.
Finally the publisher closed the anthology at the end of February and announced the table of contents. Today I received edits. Looks like the waiting that began with the completion of my short story in January 2011 for publisher A will finally come to fruition with publisher D (publishers B and C made grave rejection errors, alas) around May 21st. For a short story, that’s a long gestation period, but I couldn’t be more thrilled!
Now on to those edits while I wait to hear about two other submissions…le sigh.
Be sure to visit more A to Z Blog Challenge participants today! Here’s where you can find their names and link to their blogs. Their topics are endless.