Haha. Joke’s on you.

Oh, sure, authors write, but sometimes it seems that’s more of a sideline. It’s the spreadsheets you craft in your accounting job so you can get the real business of managing money done.

Lately it occurs to me that writing is what authors do so they can get the real business of waiting done.

You’ve written a book. YAY! Good for you. Now you wait: for crit partners and beta readers, for query responses, for responses from agents who requested your partial or full, from contests and mags you submitted shorts to, for editors who have your full, for your agent to let you know what happened with said editors. And THEN, if you’ve got contract in hand THAT’s when you finally… wait some more. For all the things involved in getting a book from manuscript to market.

Oh, sure, a lot of this process requires work and participation from you, but at least as much if not more is simply waiting.

You’ve probably seen it, as I have, the axiom: all it takes to get published is persistence.

OK, sure. But persistence sounds far too active for what my experience has been. I’d say persistence, of course, and a really huge, whomping dose of patience.

I’ve never been accused of being patient. So this whole journey has been a real learning experience for me. In the end, I think I’ve finally found my waiting zen in just pretending there’s nothing I’m waiting on. Send off my piece of the current stage of the process and then… ignore it and start something else. Then it’s like a nice, pleasant surprise when someone returns their pieceĀ  and I get to be active again until I turn mine in and… wait some more.

(Let’s be clear, lest I sound more virtuous than is quite true. There’s a fair amount of alcohol and moping and whining involved too. But less than there used to be, since I learned the stick-my-head-in-the-sand-and-pretend-it’s-not-there approach.)

What about you? How are you handling the waiting?