The Waiting Room (aka Climbing The Walls)
We’ve all been there. Whether it’s the dentist, doctor, veterinary clinic…waiting is no fun. Especially when you don’t know the outcome. Ever been called back to run more tests, had to wait to speak to the doctor, trembling inside, wondering what news you will be given? Ever had to wait on news of a loved one, fearing the worst, too exhausted to hope for the best? Ever waited on God, and heard…nothing?
While I love many aspects of the writing life, waiting is not one of them. Waiting freaks me out. Sends me to bad places. Makes me moody and irritable and probably just plain annoying. Yet, there isn’t a thing I can do about it. Waiting is a part of writing. Sometimes you wait for the words to come, for the story to unfold and take shape on the page. That kind of waiting you can handle with coffee and Facebook and a multitude of other distractions. Eventually the words begin to roll and all is well in the world. Waiting on news about submissions is a different beast entirely. One with claws and fangs and sharp shiny teeth. One that keeps me up nights and pushes me toward the edge of cliffs.
You’d think I’d be used to this by now. This feeling of unrest, an uneasy stirring within that happens every time I check email these days. That feeling of maybe today…maybe this week…maybe this month…and the horrible whisper that taunts…maybe never. Because, let’s face it, I’ve been doing this a while. I’m one of the lucky ones. I’m blessed with an agent who somehow still believes in me, still loves my writing…still wants to wait with me. (I think…:) ) I’ve been fortunate to have two books published, have people actually read them and enjoy them.
Shouldn’t that be enough?
Will that be enough?
Uh, no. Honestly, no.
Because I have this dream, you see, and it’s not going away. I have stories to tell, books of them. They’re not going away either. But right now I don’t know what to do with them. I don’t know what to do while I wait.
Maybe writing three books in three years has me burned out a bit. Maybe I’m not patient enough for this game. Maybe I never will be. But I can’t help thinking that all that hard work has to pay off at some point. Somebody, somewhere, someplace, will one day pick up one of those manuscripts and it’ll click. A resounding noise that will shake the cosmos and pull me out of the waiting room faster than I can take my next breath. And it’ll be good. Sweet. Success always is.
But why do I want this so badly?
I can’t answer that. I’m not sure. Call me crazy and you’d be right.
It’s not about money. Of course I wouldn’t sniff at a nice publishing deal, but really, that’s not it. It’s not about people knowing who I am, because frankly, I’m far better company for my dog, I don’t do well in crowds, hate talking on the phone and the thought of book signings make me shudder. The last conference I was at had 600 or so attendees and I needed to flee the dining room on one occasion because I just couldn’t handle the noise – the room was closing in. So why this deep-seated desire to ‘make it’ in the publishing world, and really, what does that even mean?
Maybe it simply means validation. For another book of mine to make it into print says, yes, I am doing this right. I am doing what I’m meant to be doing. And I am good at it. I suppose that little girl in me still wants to be liked, wants to be accepted, wants to be one of the cool kids. How sad is that? Sad or silly, you decide.
But what do I do with this dream while I wait in what most days feels like a padded cell? Sure, I’ll keep writing. That’s a given. But stay sane? Not so much.
I’ve taken leaps of faith before. These days, it feels like I’m doing it every day. Leaping with nowhere to land. Waiting, and being okay with it. Trying to be okay with it. Or not. It’s not as though I have a choice. I can’t control it, this game of chance. Can’t control the length of the wait or the outcome.
But I can control my attitude. Which, I admit, pretty much sucks right now. And I guess I’m going to have to do something about that or even my dog might run away from home.
Lord, give me strength. Grace. Courage. And perseverance. Times Ten.
So is anyone else in this with me? Are you waiting right now for something you don’t know you’re going to receive? How do you handle it?