And waiting...and waiting...and waiting...
Waiting on feedback from critique partners. Waiting for a response from the agents you've queried. Waiting to hear back from the editors your agent has submitted to (or waiting for that stage to begin). I have a hard time waiting for my nails to dry. Needless to say, my first few weeks of querying were absolutely excruciating. I checked my email hopefully every five minutes, only to be miserably disappointed every time. And waiting for responses to partials and fulls was even worse, since agents can take up to four months with those. At one point, I remember thinking to myself, "I wish Ms. Superagent would just reject my manuscript already. I'd rather have some response than...this."
And...my wish came true.
My parents always know when I'm waiting for something, because my phone bill for that month skyrockets. At school, I constantly check my email between classes (and during classes--that's me, living on the edge). In fact, I read the email in which my agent first offered representation during Global Studies, while I should have been doing research on Haiti. And being the suave, collected person I am, flipped out and yelped, "Oh, my God!" loud enough for my entire class to hear. Then I lied and pretended to be all excited about some piece of information I'd just discovered about Haiti's government (for those of you who read my last blog post, you know why).
Waiting sucks. It really does. And I've spent countless hours staring at my inbox, wasting time I could have used to do something, you know, somewhat productive. For those of you who are querying or waiting on something else, here are five things you can do instead of spending every waking moment wondering why you're being ignored:
1. Social Media: Go commiserate with people who are going through the same thing on Facebook, Twitter, whatever. A great writer's community is www.agentqueryconnect.com, which has a forum especially for the submission process.
2. Start working on your next project: Pour your efforts into a sequel or new idea. Remember that character who wouldn't leave you alone while you were working on your ex-WIP, but you had to ignore because you were already committed to a manuscript? Connect with them. Listen to their stories.
3. Get out: Go do all of the things you had to skip out on to entertain the voices in your head. Grab a few friends and go shopping, the movies, whatever. Personally, I go to the tennis court and play for a few hours, because I tend to get my best ideas when I'm physically active.
4. Watch a movie/Read a book: Give your creativity a rest and enjoy what someone else has poured their blood, sweat, and tears into. When I'm waiting on something, I always, always watch Get Smart. Steve Carell is my hero.
5. Connect with your book: When I'm writing or revising, I'm always on a strict schedule, and as soon as I'm done, I'm on a strict revising schedule. Waiting gives me time to make maps of my fantasy world, sketch out my characters and settings, compose music for the lyrics in my manuscript, and find other ways to make my world come alive.