QueryTracker Blog

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Tom Petty Tells It Like it Is. The Waiting IS the Hardest Part.

In 2008 an agent who'd read my book invited me to visit his office to chat about it. That was all the information he gave. Of course, I was terribly excited, and on edge, wondering what he'd say. He set the meeting for two weeks hence. I turned to my pals on the QueryTracker forum and asked them: how will I pass the time?

Many suggestions were made: start writing the next book. Knitting. One QT forum pal suggested that I take up tap dancing.

Six years later, I now realize that the waiting never goes away. It makes no difference where you are on your publishing career path. Waiting is just part of the game. At the moment, I'm waiting for feedback from my agent on a revision. For a different book, I'm waiting for cover art from my publisher. And I'm waiting for the results of a contest that I entered yet another book in.

And that's just this week.

Now, perhaps indie authors will chime in and point out that going it alone removes some of those obstacles. And they're right... sort of. But indie authors wait for different stuff. They wait for a slot with their favorite cover artist. They wait for iTunes connect to approve their account paperwork. They wait for their freelance editors' notes, and they wait for BookBub to approve their ads.

It takes time to get all the details of a book right. Sure, technology and changes in publishing strategy have compressed parts of the timeline. But when we're working in the long form, by definition, that's not going to change.

We all wait. But we're not all good at it. I'm rather terrible, to be honest. It's not that I don't understand that digging in to the work at hand is my best option. I crave progress and I crave feedback. (And sometimes I crave coffee, so that I may carry on with craving the other stuff.)

So what helps? For me, shutting off the internet to dig in to my work for a couple of hours helps. Conversely, having coffee with writer friends who are also always waiting helps. What works for you? What are your strategies? 

In the meantime, have a little Tom Petty on me. This video is dated 1981, and the hair sure dates it. But the youtube comments are fresh. People chime in daily, it seems, to say that he was right. Waiting is hard. And that's never going to change. The only way to take control is to use the time wisely.

Sarah Pinneo
is a novelist, food writer and book publicity specialist. Her most recent book is Julia’s Child. Follow her on twitter at @SarahPinneo.


tracikenworth said...

I'm in the same boat in the waiting, but I'm determined during that time to learn my craft and become a better writer and to never stop doing either. I think that's the secret to success.

Diana Murray said...

Great post, Sarah. I actually guest blogged about the same issue recently! http://laurasassitales.wordpress.com/2014/03/10/guest-post-ten-cures-for-writers-waiteritis-with-diana-murray/

Yep. Tom Petty speaks the truth.

Teresa Robeson said...

I'm not too bad at waiting; that is one thing that forgetfulness in my old(er) age is good for, though I don't recommend it as a technique for dealing with the wait.

Tom Petty has to be my favorite singer/song-writer of all time. :)

Rosie said...

I generally end up at the hair stylist for a fresh cut and color so at least I can look good while waiting!