From the title, you might be thinking that this is going to be a New Year’s post that came a bit early.
Yes, there’ll be a New Year’s post, but you’ll have to wait for that.
And that’s what I want to talk about: Waiting.
Now I’m not talking about waiting in line, or waiting for a package to arrive, or even waiting to get into the bathroom. We’ve all got those skills.
Here’s what I mean:
You’ve finished your story, revised it, and sent it to the open call for submissions. You’ve submitted your query or your additional pages. Hell, you’ve just sent off the full manuscript to a (hopefully) eager agent or editor.
Now you’re waiting, right?
No. You’re not.
As a writer, you’re never waiting.
There’s always something for you to work on.
And that’s what you should be doing. Moving forward.
Because once you’ve hit that “Send” button, what comes next is out of your control. Someone else is going to make a decision about what comes next and there isn’t a darn thing that you can do about it. That’s the way the business works.
So what I’m going to do is take that word “Waiting” and throw it out the window. Waiting implies that you’re stopped. Static.
I’m going to replace “Waiting” with “Moving on”. That implies that you’re going somewhere. And you are.
How are you doing that?
Keep writing. Keep working. Start Moving On.
Getting back to the craft will help you keep your mind on task and it will help you with dwelling upon that which you’ve got no control. It’s not perfect (nothing is), but it’ll help.
Now that’s not to say that you shouldn’t consider the “Wouldn’t it be cool if…” part of submitting your work. Indeed, I don’t think it’s possible to shut that out. I sure as hell can’t and, what’s more, I wouldn’t want to. A little bit of daydreaming is good for the soul.
Don’t let it consume you, though.
I’ve got a short story out for consideration in an anthology and I’ve got a full manuscript out to an agent and I confess that it’s pretty easy to slip into “Man, wouldn’t it be cool if…” thoughts. When I find myself doing that, I’ll let it go for a little bit and then remind myself that it could just as easily go the other way.
Keep yourself balanced. Keep working on your craft.
If good things happen, congratulations! You’ve earned it. You’ll be better equipped to handle the revisions that are coming. And they will be coming. Trust me on that…
If nothing happens, then it won’t be as much of a blow since you’ve kept your perspective. Yes, rejection sucks, but it will happen (again, it’s part of the business).
If you’ve kept working, you will still be further down your path than you were back when you sent your work out.
It might be that you’re far enough down the road that you can see the areas that need polish and address those.
The point is that you haven’t been static for that time.
You’ve been writing, revising, submitting, improving.
And, if you keep doing that, you’ll get there.