Saturday, March 20, 2010

Mastering the Art of Waiting - Not.

The journey to become published is paved with the carcasses of writers who have suffered through many tortures - the worst of which is waiting. Learning how to wait patiently should be a first year credit course for anyone taking a writer's program or be taught at whatever writer's retreat you might be lucky enough to attend. I've been writing for over seven years. I've waited through my share of writer milestones: waiting to hear back from agents (agony I tell you!), waiting to hear back from editors once your book is on submission (torture - sheer torture!), waiting to find out if your book made it through the acquisition meeting (tear your hair out torture!), waiting for the first revision letter, waiting for final pass pages, waiting to see your cover, waiting for your agent to get back to you with revisions for your next book, waiting, waiting, waiting...

I thought I'd passed through all the seven circles of waiting hell by this point but there was one more I had to face: waiting for my author's copies to arrive.

Sheer. Brutal. Agony.

I got the email from the publisher earlier this week saying the books were on their way. My agent emailed me yesterday saying she'd got her copies and they looked great. Now waiting was compounded by its ugly cousin jealousy - dang it everybody else had their copies - when could I hold my book in my hands? I was home pretty much all day yesterday and thought the mailman would end my suffering (it had been a while since I'd stalked the mailman!) But, nope, my waiting would not be over with the sound of bills and magazines thunking onto the front hall carpet. I would have to wait some more.

But I was pro at waiting. I'd learned over the years what I needed to do. I would work on my wip! I'd clean the house! I'd rake the yard! Laundry! Of course. Hockey games to attend, errands to run. All of these things would take my mind off of the waiting.

But I'd failed to realize one small difference in this waiting game that made it different from all the other waiting games I'd played in the last seven years. This time I was waiting for my first book to arrive. It was out there. In the world. About to be launched. Held by people. Read by people. It was here.

Two more days until the mailman comes again. The seventh circle of hell has morphed into number eight and counting...


  1. "Learning how to wait patiently should be a first year credit course for anyone taking a writer's program or be taught at whatever writer's retreat you might be lucky enough to attend."

    Yes, indeed! I don't think anyone is ever prepared for how much waiting is involved in the writing process. Good luck on the waiting - once you get your book it will be all worth it! :-)

  2. Thanks, Anna. Waiting is more bearable when you have other writers to share it with. :)
    P.S. I'm STILL waiting for my husband to update our browser so I can comment on your blog - waiting seems to be the main purpose of my life these days! You're doing an amazing job with the writing advice. Keep it coming!

  3. I cannot wait to have your shiny, beautiful book in my hands. From the moment I read it, I knew it was a winner, and I can't wait to read it a second time, and a third, while happy in the realization that this was written by uber-talented and incredibly special friend. You're an inspiration Nelsa... you've kept working at it for years. I am so, so proud to be your friend. Love ya.

  4. Sounds like it will come any day!!! That's a good kind of waiting though, I'd think. You know it's not bad news, you're waiting your book - and that's good news that's not going away!!Yay!!

  5. It's all in the anticipation. :) At least you don't have to wonder "if." You know it's there, going to be read which is so exciting and cool.

  6. Stephanie: Aw, girl you are the best cheerleader (and a pretty awesome writer and even better friend yourself). You know I wouldn't have had the confidence to move forward on IB without your support. This is a very shared birth!

    Hi Laura! You're right - waiting for good news is much better than the other kind!

    Hi Lisa: Now that song 'Anticipation' is going through my head! :) Happy anticipation is definitely a positive experience. But I still hope the books come on Monday so I can stop anticipating!!

  7. The waiting is killer. Hope they arrive Monday!