If you want to be a writer, you need to practice patience. You’re going to need it. Lots of it.
Anyone who has been through the mill of submission to agents or trad publishers will know the routine of a rush of activity in the lead up to submission, followed by a strange mix of excitement and terror when you actually post your manuscript or press send.
Then comes a few days of fevered anticipation as you check the post/inbox on an hourly basis. The logic being that your manuscript when it arrives at its destination is going to scream such quality that someone important will drop everything else they were doing to read it immediately and respond with similar alacrity.
When those first few days pass, the enthusiasm levels take a dip. You remind yourself that the people you are submitting to are busy people. You’ll give them a week. But a week turns into two. Then a month. Make that six weeks?! Slowly the horror begins to dawn on you that you may never hear back.
Was the package lost in the post? Was the email lost in the hell of internet limbo or worse languishing unloved in a spam folder somewhere? You resolve to find out whether it safely arrived but that usually opens up a whole new round of playing the waiting game.
Sometimes you’ve waited so long that by the time a form letter/email arrives thanking you but telling you that your manuscript was not for them you are almost relieved. At least you can stop wondering now.
Waiting is intrinsic to writing so you’d better get used to it and find ways to cope with it because even though the advent of email may have speeded up some things the wheels of publishing still turn pretty slowly.
Think indie publishers are exempt from the waiting game? You’d be wrong. More on that in The Writer’s Waiting Game Part Two next week.