There’s a Tom Petty song called “The Waiting” that has been running through my head for the past few weeks. The chorus goes “The waiting is the hardest part, every day you see one more card, you take it on faith, you take it to the heart, the waiting is the hardest part.” Isn’t that the truth? For me, waiting is sooo hard. I even have trouble waiting to give people presents. I want to see their reaction, I want them to go ahead and enjoy their gift. I can never hold out on my husband; it never fails that I buy his Christmas or birthday presents early and get all proud of myself for my foresight, but then they sit in their hiding spot calling to me, begging me to go ahead and give them.
Patience is something I’m constantly working on. My husband helps me out with this a good deal (i.e. forcing me to be patient when he leaves coffee rings on the white counter or takes off his shoes in the middle of the floor and leaves them there), and I’m getting better, but I have to make an effort. One area I’m having to exercise some real patience is querying agents.
I am an inquisitive person by nature, I think that’s one reason I’m a good attorney. I have to know things. Where, when, what, why, how? I ask questions and feed on the answers. In court, that’s how you move forward. Each question propelled by the answer before it. What happened? So you ran into another car, how fast were you going? Okay, at 65 miles per hour, did you try to brake? You hit your brakes but the roads were wet, did you skid? I drive my husband crazy sometimes with questions. I’m not sure why I need to know, I just do. That’s the way I’ve always been. It’s why I hate math so much. Yeah, okay, you multiply these numbers by these, but why?
So patience is especially hard when I’m waiting for an answer. I just sent out a batch of queries and was thrilled that I got a couple of positive responses right off the bat! But now I’m waiting again. Waiting to hear from the agents who haven’t responded yet, waiting to hear from the agents who are reading my stuff, just waiting…. I try to forget about it. Put it into a box and shove it to the back of my mind, but my stupid inquisitive nature pokes its little puppy nose under the lid, anxious to know what’s inside and what’s coming next.
I’m doing better than I used to though. When I queried my first book I was a wreck. Constantly checking my email to see if I had a response. Then re-checking in case someone responded while I was looking away and the screen hadn’t refreshed. Back in June I submitted a work to a writing contest. It was difficult to put it out of my mind, but I’ve more or less been able to do just that. Mostly because I knew it wouldn’t do any good. The results are being announced this coming weekend. That means I’m getting nervous again though, soooo ready for this weekend to be over so I can know the results, but mostly so I can get my submission back with the judges’ critiques. More than anything I want to know what they said about it and what I need to work on. For me, it’s better when I have a time frame. “We’ll post the results in October” or “We’ll get back with you in six weeks”, but by October, or week 6, I start checking and re-checking my email again.
How do you handle the waiting? Work on something else? Pretend you aren’t waiting on anything? Darn some socks? Or are you a wreck too?