Thursday, August 12, 2010
Waiting—the worst part of being a writer
Taking a break from My Writer's Journey as I wait for critiques and prepare for the Catholic Writers' Conference Live. So, appropriately, here's my take on waiting!
I know that most writers think getting rejected is the worst part of the vocation, but not for me. I hate the waiting. Waiting on critique buddies to get back to you. Waiting for publishers to accept or reject. Waiting for the book or story to come out. There’s a lot of waiting involved in writing.
Part of why I hate it is I’m an impatient person when it comes to completing a project. I like knowing something is finalized, and an unpublished manuscript is somehow incomplete.
I also get insecure: Did the editor receive it? Did it get lost in a pile somewhere? Did the reply get lost? I try to combat this by making sure I follow-up, but sometimes, even follow-ups (and second follow-ups) go unanswered. Even an autoreply would be nice!
I’m also insecure about moving on. I know the guidelines say they’ll get back in a certain amount of time, but 8 times out of 10, they don’t, even with a follow-up. However, I always feel like I’m being impolite if I send it someplace else. What if they find it in that pile they finally got to? Did I just miss a chance at Asimov’s or Tor because I got impatient and sent it to a small press?
Finally, I hate waiting because it plays on my biggest weakness: my memory. As I look back at my list of submissions, I find that some of them have been with a magazine for over a year! And no reply. Why didn’t I forget it and move on? I got involved in something else and forgot. Obviously, I need to start making a schedule to check on these things. It’s my next focus area in writing.
I know the best way to get past my distaste for waiting is just to keep moving on, and I do. But as I look at the growing pile of submissions that languish while I wait, I feel the weight of my dreams sitting in someone else’s in-box.
To be honest, I’d rather have a fast rejection than a long wait. At least then I know where I stand.