Today I’d like to invite you to join me somewhere most, if not all, writers are familiar with.
Where’s that, you ask?
The Waiting Room.
I know some of you are groaning right now. Some of you are saying, “I’ve been sitting in the waiting room for months now. I’m not interested in your invitation to another one.”
Just follow my lead and keep reading this post. Please? Yes, the Waiting Room is crowded. And the magazines are out-of-date. But we’re here to talk, not peruse the 2010 issue of Bowhunter magazine.
If you’re a writer, the Waiting Room is unavoidable. Truth is, if you stay the course, you’ll make repeated trips to the Waiting Room where the hands on the clock never seem to move and you wait forever for someone to call your name and say, “We’ll see you now.”
Aren’t I just the messenger of all things light and breezy today?
Why, you ask, why the Waiting Room? It’s such a waste of time.
Is it really?
What can you learn while you wait? Yes, I know you’d rather just get seen and get out of there. But stick with me. I’ve got a few suggestions for surviving all the waiting:
- Remember attitude is key. If I expect to wait then there are no woe is mes—or at least fewer attacks of self-pity. If I get into my appointment on time or—gasp!—early, then I celebrate. Translation: No one is an overnight success. If some author tells you that they are, they are lying. (You can tell them I said so.)
- Be prepared to wait. Do I want to waste time thumbing through magazines I’d never read even if I was stranded on a desert island? Translation: What are you doing while you wait for “the call”? Are you counting time or making time count by revising your manuscript, participating in the MBT Peptalks, attending conferences, connecting with other writers—maybe even encouraging other writers?
- Realize everyone hates waiting. Did you know that medical professionals hate being behind schedule as much as you hate waiting? And sometimes they’re running late because they’re waiting on someone else — lab results or an x-ray. Translation: Writers aren’t the only ones who wait in the publishing world. Editors wait too. And agents. And publishers. Whether you’re pre-published or published, you’re going to wait for something because you should always be striving for the next thing. You might enter a contest and wait to hear if you finaled. Or you might decide to go to a conference, and now you’re counting down the days until you’re there — and you’ll get the chance to pitch your book.
So now’s your chance to chime in: What helps you when you find yourself in the Waiting Room?