The waiting time

Maybe you haven’t heard back yet on agent queries.

Maybe you’ve sent short stories to publications, but you haven’t gotten responses yet.

Maybe you’ve applied for writing seminars, but you don’t know yet whether you’ll be accepted.

Maybe it’s … all of that at once?

(Yep, me too.)

Here’s the thing about the waiting time: Don’t take it personally. It’s not about you. Everyone is overloaded and stressed out, and the publishing industry is still playing catch-up over the pandemic. Reading periods and deadlines happen when they happen. This is the part of the process you have no control over, and worrying about it only feels like doing something.

You could keep productive to take your mind off the worry. Start another novel, write a poem, etc. But I also think it’s OK to do nothing. Acknowledge this is a bad time, step away from the computer, find a TV show you haven’t watched yet. Find a charity or nonprofit that needs you. (It goes without saying that there are a lot of charities that could use help right now.) Call somebody to see how they’re doing. Do something non-creative, or at least non-writing, until you’re ready to write again.

The world will catch up. You will get answers. Maybe some of those answers will be “yes.”