I’m not a patient person. I hang up on people if I get put on hold for longer than a few seconds. I have to bite my tongue to keep myself from finishing sentences for my second grader when he reads to me. Years ago, when I owned my own business, I could never delegate to anyone because it was always faster to do it myself.
Bottom line… I suck at waiting.
Had I known how much waiting would be involved in the publishing industry before I sat down at the keyboard and typed the first words of my initial manuscript, I might have chosen a different vocation. Or at least a different path to publication. But here I am, twiddling my thumbs while strangers decide my fate.
Lately I’ve had that song by The Byrds running through my mind. You know the one? A time to reap? A time to sow? OMG, am I dating myself? Can we just assume that I’m an old soul and have a deep appreciation for classic rock? Anyhow, waking up with the iconic lyrics running through my head for several days in a row made me think. Maybe The Byrds were onto something. Maybe this is my time to wait. A season of waiting? If I can think of it like that, maybe it will make the waiting a tad bit more tolerable. And in the spirit of helping others, here are some other things you can do if you’re stuck in the waiting season or playing the waiting game like me:
W – Write the next book. This is the gold standard answer most industry pros will dish out when asked the best piece of advice they’d give to new authors. I get it, I swear. I’ve been working on the next book. I have 4.5 manuscripts ready to go and could probably have more if I’d channel all that waiting energy and let it loose on the keyboard. But sometimes it’s too hard to sit down and pour out my heart while I’m still, you know, waiting…
A – Attack your plasticware cabinet. There’s nothing as satisfying as taking a giant clusterflunk of mismatched plastic containers and forcing it into submission. The rest of my house might be drowning in piles of paperwork, suffocating from dust bunnies or buried under the latest fruit juice spill. But dammit, that one cabinet has been tamed.
I – Invest in some puppy love. Cuddle a cat. Dote on a dog. Hug a horse. You get the idea. It’s scientifically proven, somewhere, by someone, that animals reduce your blood pressure. I’m 99% sure I read that at one point.
T – TV! Lose yourself in a new binge-worthy TV show. My latest guilty pleasure… Good Behavior on TNT. Remember Lady Mary Crawley From Downton Abbey? Michelle Dockery does an amazing job of slipping between personas and the eye candy of Juan Diego Botto doesn’t hurt either. I used to justify hours of TV watching if I was doing laundry or on the treadmill. No more. For this show I’ve got my butt planted on the couch, glass of wine in hand, eager to see what jam Letty gets herself into next.
I – Interest… as in Pursue an interest. I love to read. Book club is next week and I read “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien right after the holidays. No offense to Tim — he did win a National Book Award after all. But that book put the “D” in depressing! Turning my sights on the new Lauren Blakely next. Nothing like the promise of a Full Package to jerk me out of my slump.
N – No Pain, No Gain. Ugh. Exercise. I feel like a hypocrite even typing this. Yes, pounding out my frustration on the treadmill or mastering a new yoga pose would make much better use of my time. Especially as I’m carting around the extra, after-holiday five or ten pounds. One yoga sculpt class and I couldn’t bend over for a week. I’ll keep trying on this one.
G – God, help me! As a last resort, I’ll pray for patience. Dear Lord, make me a more patient person. Give me the ability to wait without complaint. But can you speed it along? I need more patience NOW!
Anyone else out there playing the waiting game? What do you do to pass the time? Tell me, quick!