I have pages in two different people’s hands right now, and my “new” first chapter is posted on Critique Circle.com. Having new people read your work is exhilarating and terrifying. And I’m very lucky and happy to have people that are browsing through my words, and helping make them stronger.
But it is full disclosure time. I am never more neurotic than when I am waiting on a review. I pray in time this will get better for the publishing business is all about waiting. I know this, and that is why I make sure that my crazy is kept internal. Well, with the exception of this post. The only reason that I share this so openly is because I don’t think that I am alone.
But you have to recognize this for what it is and not give into temptation to pester those blessed souls who have offered to read your work. To not fill their inbox with insane messages of …
--- “What page are you on?” ---
---“Nevermind, don’t read it. You won’t like it.” ---
--- “I know you’ve had fifty pages for only thirty minutes, but what do you think?” ---
--- “Your silence means you hate it. Am I right?” ---
--- “Please love me.” ---
*Just so we are clear, I have never ACTUALLY sent any of those* :-)
Please note, my anxiety is not a reflection of the critiquers, only of my own impatience.
These people are there to help you get stronger, not to validate you as a writer. And the process of waiting is one that you must become accustomed to if you are serious about the business.
--- You must wait until your manuscript is ready before querying.
--- You must wait and query slowly—not sending a mass email to all agents who you think rock.
--- You must wait to hear back from said rockstar agents.
--- They ask for pages, you must wait to hear if they love them.
--- If they love them, you must wait for them to find the publisher that thinks you rock.
--- Found a publisher, you must wait on that much dreamed about cover.
--- Cover’s on shelf, you must wait to see if people love your characters as much as you do.
And if they do, all the waiting will make that moment all the sweeter.
No matter if it’s the wait for a critique, the wait for the words to be your version of perfect, or the agent’s email to finally hit your email box after the thirty-seventh time of you sending an email to yourself with the subject ‘TEST” – BREATHE! Take a deep breath, find something else to do, channel your anxiety into beautiful art, and don’t forget how blessed you are to have been given the gift of words.
The choice to write can be made in a minute, but the decision to become a writer is not one that should be taken lightly. It is a journey no less difficult than Frodo’s. This business requires determination, courage, resolve, patience, strength, and wonderful friends who help put you back on the right path when one of those is faltering.
Celebrate each accomplishment. Brush off each down fall. And put your best write forward.
Much love to all of you for being my Samwise on this journey!
So tell me. What are you waiting on? Are you a patient person? Do you stress when others have your work? Or do you stay cool as a cucumber?