The Stages of Waiting

I sent my work-in-progress, THE DEXELON TWINCIDENT, out to my first round of readers two weeks ago. I received comments from one of the readers on Friday, and I’ve been anxiously waiting for feedback from the other (don’t rush, if you’re reading this!). It’s made me muse on the different kinds of waiting we have to do as writers and the emotions associated with them. I’ve been through so many different stages of waiting over the almost two years I’ve been seriously seeking representation.

There’s the excitement of querying a new project. That moment when you send out your first batch of queries and then anxiously wait for your phone to ding a new email or, if you’re more obsessive, keep refreshing your email. I can’t do that. Before my smart phone, I would only let myself check my query email three times a day. Now I know as soon as an email comes in, so I don’t need to obsessively check. Of course, there are those phantom dings 🙂 …

If you get requests, there’s the agonizing wait for the agent’s response. I used to check QueryTracker every day for new comments about whatever agent requested my work, but I’ve discovered that’s just another way to drive myself crazy. I do have an agent column in my Tweetdeck that I monitor, but I limit myself to checking QT once a week. It’s not like I can speed up the process anyway.

How about this one? That heart-stopping moment when you have a response and don’t yet know what it is. You can see who the sender is and the first few words. Even though I’ve trained myself to assume it’s a rejection (better to be pleasantly surprised than get my hopes up too much), I still get short of breath in the moments it takes the email to load. There’s slightly less anticipation if the email starts with “Thank you,” but I’ve been wrong about that a couple of times.

My favorite kind of waiting is for feedback from my critique partners and beta readers. It’s so much easier than waiting on an agent because I expect them to find things that need work. I go into it with anticipation of what I can do to make the novel better. And as soon as I hear from them, I want to jump into revisions. That’s the hard part–waiting until I hear back from ALL of them. Because as I posted in January, even if different readers comment on the same issue, they come at it with their own view of the world, and those distinctions are helpful in knowing how to fix the issue.

What emotions do you go through while you’re waiting? How do you pass the time?

Here are two other posts I’ve written on waiting:

Yes, No, Wait

The Questions We Ask While We Wait

Responses to “The Stages of Waiting”

  1. Julie Grasso

    I loved this post, because today, of all days is definitely a waiting day.LOL 1. I am waiting on my cover artist to finish the sequel to my indie book. 2. I am waiting on the final proof for said sequel. 3 I am waiting on my editor to return my WIP so I can send it on submission to an agent who expressed interest. So today, little G and I went to the library, had a chai, got some sushi and read about 100 picture books. Not a bad way to wait wait wait. I think I will refrain from all query tracking mayhem. My frame of mind is slightly different I guess because if the agent rejects my WIP I feel released to continue on the path to indie publishing. I even have a cover conjured…Happy waiting, cheers Julie

  2. aewelch

    Waiting is sooooooo hard! I enjoyed reading THE DEXELON TWINCIDENT and I know how hard it is to wait for betas to get back to you. Hope my notes help 🙂


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