Okay, Listen Here

Okay, Listen Here

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Waiting is the Hardest Thing

Waiting is the hardest thing for me to do. I HATE to wait. Waiting is just about the worst thing in the whole world that I have to do.

I clearly remember the first time waiting was truly painful. It was in 3rd grade. I was in love with Jeffery. He looked so yummy in his Cub Scout uniform AND he always let me tell him what to do. We created a social studies fair project and because he let me plan and create it, we won first place! Our romance was clearly going to last forever. Well, until the waiting started…once the project was over Jeffery didn’t call me every afternoon to talk on the phone. It seems that somewhere along the line he got the impression that the only reason you should call someone was if you actually had something to tell her. Can you believe that? So I waited and waited and waited and waited every day for him to call. Didn’t he know my daddy wouldn’t let me call boys? He probably called about every third or fourth day. This was a problem for me and I grew to hate the waiting. Well, I couldn’t hate Jeffery and I couldn’t hate the phone so the waiting was the only thing left to hate on. The romance eventually ended when Jeffery moved away the summer between third and fourth grades but my hatred for waiting remains.

I think that waiting is Un-American. Did the Pilgrims wait at Plymouth Rock for someone to build them houses? No, they did it themselves.

Did Paul Revere wait for someone to call to tell the others that the Redcoats were coming? No, he hopped up on that horse and took off himself. Did the pioneers wait for someone to send them the deed to a new farm in Oregon as a gift? No, they got in a wagon and hit that Oregon Trail and went to create their own homes.

Waiting is truly the worst part of my life as a writer. You know how it is. You create a wonderful, fabulous, fantastic story then you send your precious baby off to the editor or agent who asked to see it. You are soooooooo excited and over the moon with glee that you got a request so you hurry to send it in. Then the waiting starts, and it goes on and on and on and on and on. I can’t stand it!

Jean and I usually try to start our next project pretty quickly after we send submissions in. This at least gives me some distraction from the waiting. I can focus on the new project rather than what might be happening to the old project. I still hate waiting but at least I am not driving the people around me crazy too.

How do you handle waiting?


  1. You are too funny. :-)

    I am known far and wide as an impatient person, though I can't figure out why. I just hate to wait. For anything. I don't handle it well at all. -- LJ

  2. If you want some interesting perspective on impatience and waiting (neatly tying your today and yesterday posts together, you notice), there's a great book called "Faster, The Acceleration of Just About Everything" that you might enjoy. Author is James Gleick. I think of it every time I am impatiently waiting for an elevator, or the computer to boot up, or anything. Hugs - Julian

  3. I know exactly how you feel, girl! I always get that Tom Petty song in my head, "The Waaiaaiting is the hardest part." Remember that song? It's annoyingly whiney, just like me! I hate to wait. I've been waiting for well over a year to hear whether a certain editor is going to say yes or no to my Alabama romance, set in 1880. She liked it over a year ago, asked me for changes, and then never got back to me. My new agent emailed her and she said, "Melanie has been the soul of patience." When I told my husband she said that, he laughed! I can't imagine why.

    I met up with this editor in September at the ACFW Conference. She really likes the book, but she still isn't sure.

    I've also been waiting for ... getting close to a year now, to hear from my editor at Zondervan whether or not they are going to publish my second Medieval YA fairy tale retelling. I think I'm getting close, though. She apparently liked my rewrites and is passing it around at Z. So maybe I'll find out next month. I'm hoping and praying.

    I believe it's harder to wait when you're pre-published, but it's only slightly less hard after you are published.

  4. And I should know! I waited over three years to get a yes on The Healer's Apprentice, my first pubbed book!

  5. Stephanie, you sure know how to make waiting humerous!

    I hate waiting too, but I've had to learn to wait and wait and wait. The dreaded W word is a monster we all have to deal with, especially in the publishing world.

    And in the world of everyday, there's the waiting for your next birthday or Christmas, an act that seemed to defy all scientific rules of time. Then there's knowing that you will be leaving your best-friends and waiting to make new ones at your new home. How about your best-friends move away and you are left to wait until your father gets orders to remove you from everything that reminds you of them. Or the always clever waiting nine months to see your beautiful baby, and longer yet, waiting to see how wonderful your children turn out.

    But oh! the hardest part about waiting is for word on that 250+ page book you sent to an editor. I can sympathize. I comfort myself by thinking about all the authors that are waiting along with me. A member of our writing chapters says, "The universe is unfolding as it should." As I wait and watch other talented writers wait, I keep that in mind.

    Though my children have had their ups and downs, they have turned into very successful, wonderful souls. I'm confident that our books will fare just as well, Stephanie! ;)

  6. I don't like to wait, either, Stephanie. But I believe all things come in time as they are meant to, and I draw great strength from that, believe it or not. I try to focus my mind on other things, so I don't dwell on waiting.

  7. The waiting definitely doesn't stop once you're published, unfortunately. Seems like I'm always waiting to hear what my editor thinks: about my newest idea, about the book I just sent, about the revisions I just turned in.

    I don't like to wait either, at least not with this kind of thing. Other things I don't mind waiting on. I guess it just depends. Once got a 10 yr old tv fixed for free because I waited for over a year while they screwed around with it. It wasn't a cheap fix either. :) Totally worth the wait since I didn't have to buy a new tv.

  8. Thanks for the blog, Stephanie. ^_^ I giggled all the way through, and I can't begin to tell you how much I needed that!

    Ah, waiting. My oldest and most irritating foe. I've grappled with this one since grade school myself. I can still remember counting the daunting number of years until I could be an adult -- Then I'd -really- have it made.
    Of course, now I forget that I AM one now, and I'm supposed to have some degree of gracefulness about the waiting game at this point. I think the hardest part for me, as a writer, is waiting for my mind to catch up to my ambition. I hate the lull between chapters in which in seems to recharge and regroup before it will let me press onward. I hate re-reading the same technical book trying to glean what slipped past me the first go-around, because it can take days for it to actually sink in. Sometimes I liken the growth of a writer to aging wine. You can drink what's there right away, sure... but just imagine how much the flavor will mature if you give it more time.

    ~Angela Blount

  9. I have no trouble waiting. I am eternally patient.

    Oh, no. Lightening just struck behind me.

    It has helped since I have been able to say this to myself: "You've done all you can. It out of your control. Worry about what you CAN control."

    As I wait, it helps me to take pleasure in the success of others. Not everyone does that and it mystifies me. It must make life very hard, indeed.

  10. Melanie and Lynn, I guess there is a different kind of waiting after you get published. Is the sophomore book more intimidating?

    Thanks for the book suggestion, "Faster, The Acceleration of Just About Everything" by author James Gleick, Weaver. Sounds very interesting! ;)

    LJ, thanks for posting. It's nice to know we're not the only ones who hate to wait. LOL!

    Crystal, you're right. We shouldn't focus on the wait, but relish in the expectation of the answer. :)

    Love the association with wine, RedPeril! It's wonderful to know that we all struggle with these issues. It seems like when you've mastered one sense of waiting, a new lesson takes its place. :D

    Jean, you are too funny! I agree that we all need to be grateful for what we have and eager for others to receive their glory. I find just as much happiness in someone else's accomplishments as do I my own. ;)

  11. LJ-Glad to see I am not alone in this hatred of waiting. Not so glad to see that experience and success don't help the problem much. Thanks for sharing that with us. :-)

    Julian-Thanks for sharing about that book with us. I will look for it soon. Good to hear from you here!

    Melanie-I do remember that Petty song and I also remember always agreeing with him! Thanks for sharing about your waiting experiences with us. I guess it is good to see that every stage has some waiting to do. I would love to read the Alabama in the 1880's story. Keep us posted on that one!

    Kathy-All that waiting sounds bad but at least you have friends under the tulip tree to share the wait with you. Well, if lighting doesn't hit Jean while we are there. :-)

    Crystal and Lynn-Thanks for the wise words!

    Angela-That wine thought was great! What a super way to think about things.

    Jean-Great advice.
    Watch out for that lightening!

  12. I hate waiting too. I am impatient when other people have control. I want to be in control but alas there will always be someone who can and will make me wait.

  13. I'm in "hurry up and wait" mode as well. But that's the way it works. I did get a fast response from one agent who requested more pages so that was nice. I remember thinking that I'd love her as an agent because she is quick with her responses and I am not patient at all. We'd be a great match.

    And now? Back to prepping my next fifty pages for her!