Ten Ways to Wait
- Write. Distract yourself with what got you into this in the first place. Work on a synopsis for your WIP (not an easy task but this was a great help to me: How to write a one page synopsis).
- Read. At first, I underestimated the value of reading as a writer. I read because I enjoy it but after I started trying to work out kinks in my stories or dialogues with my characters, I realized how valuable it is to pay attention to what works in the novels that hook me.
- Re-read. Those books that pull you in over and over again have something in them you want. What it is? Is it the way the characters connect? The use of language? The way they make you feel part of the setting? Read your favourites again and figure out what it is. My go-to re-reads (and I haven't fully analyzed why yet) are Angels Fall and The Search by Nora Roberts.
- Blog crawl. There is so much information out there about writing, rejection, querying, etc. Use this to your advantage. On top of being great resources, blogs done by writers are usually entertaining. Most of the ones I read are straight forward, funny, and, most importantly, genuine.
- Pinterest. I started doing this when I noticed Jill Shalvis did it and I thought it was kind of cool. She makes pinterest boards for her books and characters. For me, it not only occupied time, but it made me visualize and conceptualize my story and characters that much more. Here's a link to my Sweet Seconds board, which is the story that is being read by three agents right now. While I wait patiently.
- Edit/read for others. Be a beta reader. It strengthens your own writing skills, connects you with other writers, and enhances your ability to find what works and does not work in a manuscript. I have done some beta reading for Lauren Spieller and on top of making a friend, I've become a better writer, had valuable input from her on my writing, and had the pleasure of reading a beautiful book she wrote that will one day be on the shelves.
- Watch TV. I was watching Justified last night on Netflix. I was told it was excellent but had no idea how incredibly excellent it really was. When I was watching, I realized that the main character is flawed but you LOVE him. You can't not love him and it isn't just because he's a pleasure to look at. It's because he's real. He isn't perfect but he does the best he can and it pulls you and makes you root for him. That's what you want to happen for your characters.
- Remember that you have a real life. Sometimes, I forget. I have to walk away from my computer and let go of the world I lost myself in. Lose yourself in something else the way you do in your writing.
- Blog. Different from working on a manuscript, blogging allows you to share your voice as is, rather than through your characters. I blog for a site called storytimestandouts.com, which shares books, literacy tips, and activities for the classroom. It's a wonderful distraction from waiting and a fantastic resource as a teacher and a parent.
- Stay positive: particularly online. While you are waiting, the agents with your work are reading through piles of manuscripts, yours included. Keep your tweeting, blogging, commenting, and Facebooking professional.
What did I miss? What do you do to keep from going crazy? There's a great line in The Search (by Nora Roberts) that I love: "[We] worked on keeping each other from going crazy." Find someone or something to help you channel the crazy that inevitably comes along with waiting. Now, taking my own advice, I'm going to go read Jill Mansel's Staying at Daisy's.