Waiting


(Lamp post from a bus stop in Walt Disney World. I believe it was the Boardwalk hotel’s. Bus stops are public. But pictures cannot be used in the same way. That means stealing is not okay. If you want to use my photos, then please just send me a message and we can talk about it.)

Waiting is hard.

Whether you’re at a doctor’s office or about to go on stage, waiting can drive you crazy.

Have you ever submitted something you’ve written to a publication of some kind? Whether it was your high school’s yearly poetry magazine or a nationally syndicated book publishing company, the wait for your acceptance/rejection letter was difficult. (We’ll talk about rejection letters in another post.)

It can take up to eight weeks to hear back about your writing. That can be a very, very long time, especially if you’ve only sent to one place.

So what do you do while you wait?

Something that may help is editing something else and sending it to some other place.

An even better thing to do is write something new! Make it a bigger project–write an outline and detailed character profiles. You’ll get so caught up in this new project that you may even forget that you’re waiting on your letter. (Speaking of waiting for letters, you’re never going to get your Hogwarts letter. I’ve been waiting long enough to know that.)

Waiting doesn’t have to be painful. Like anything else, you can make it more fun by making a game out of it. Have you ever seen the Disney movies Snow White and Seven Dwarfs or Mary Poppins? Whistling while they worked helped Snow White and the animals clean up the house, and there was even a song while the dwarves washed their hands, a chore they hated. Mary Poppins taught the kids to make cleaning a game–it’s not so bad to pick up your toys if it’s part of a game. “A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down in a most delightful way.” If you add something fun to anything you don’t like, then it’s a lot easier to deal with.

Make a lengthy list of things to do while you’re waiting for your letter. Number them, and then use a random number generator (http://www.random.org/) to pick which one to do each day or week. Have a weekly goal of some kind.

Your assignment: Send something off to some company that publishes things. Is nothing you have publish-ready? Pick a company and see what they like. Read up on them. Check out a copy of their publications in the library. Then write something specifically for them. Edit it. Edit it again. Then send it off. Do the same thing at least one more time while you wait for your letter.

Too scary? Too bad. I’m not giving you a different assignment today. You can either do it or not. But I can guarantee you’ll feel better if you actually give it a shot. Get outside of your comfort zone. That’s the important thing about writing. (See next blog post for comfort-zone related talk.) See you soon.

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