Thursday, September 30, 2010


I’ve been observing reactions to the New Voices competition over the past few days. Isn’t it interesting how writers respond to the time after they submit a manuscript?

Granted, our responses to waiting are programmed from our earliest experiences.
Think back to years in school. Wait your turn was a common instruction. Stand in line for…shots, lunch, bathroom breaks, checking out library books, getting on the bus…well, the list goes on…and on.

Even as adults, we wait for license renewal, doctor and dental appointments, promotions, and the list goes on…

So, why are we so impatient when we finally ship a manuscript off in the mail? Doesn’t our work deserve as much time being evaluated as we spent creating it?

It’s so easy to forget that point after we hit the send button, or leave the post office. We turn into a person we hardly recognize.

You have the Nail-Biters. “I can’t rest until I know the editor loves my work.”
Or the Gut-Twisters. Jaws clenching, they turn pale as ghosts when the phone rings or the postman delivers the mail.

Then there’s the Doubting-Demons. “I’ll never be able to write another word. This one has to sell.”

The Demon Imp. “Okay, if I tear down the other people submitting manuscripts, my work will look better.”

The Eternal Procrastinator. “I didn’t submit this manuscript because it didn’t fit the contest, guidelines, word limit, etc.” And off it goes under the bed with a dozen others.

The Mother of all Submissions who seems to think the editorial guidelines are for others. “I have ten manuscripts out to agents and editors.”

And The Virgin Submitter. “I’ve been writing twenty years and this is my first submission…I just can’t stand the waiting.”

How do you handle waiting? Do your nerves knot up in a ball? Does your mind go blank? Are you fearful of putting your work out, and make excuses? Maybe you’ve been a victim of the Demon Imp in critique groups or on-line discussions…

No one says it’s easy. My grandmother always said, “Anything worth having is worth waiting for…”

Start a new story. Clean the house. Read. Watch movies. Visit with family and friends. But don’t let the waiting stop you from submitting your work.

Share with us… How do you submit?

How do you handle the wait?


Sandy Cody said...

I'd hate to have to wait for an answer for as long as it took me to write the book. Point taken, though - writers DO need patience.

LoriC said...

Dear Carol,
I sent in the partial manuscript of my Regency romance (provisionally titled "An Impossible Desire") in March and was delighted when the editor asked to see the whole thing, along with the hard copy for the files. But oh, it seems like such a long time since then! And no word--has it been lost? Rejected? Or is it about to become the next Avalon acquisition, starting me on my journey as a romance author? Wouldn't that be marvelous!
While I waited to hear about this manuscript, I finished the third rewrite of a screenplay which I submitted a few days ago, so I'm waiting on that, too. I deal with the waiting by always having more than one project on the go.

I try to make a living as a freelancer, which certainly has gotten me a lot of varied experience. I write for magazines and websites, businesses and blogs. I get oodles of rejections and a few acceptances from time to time. Sometimes I feel despairing and think about giving up, but not seriously, because when you're an unknown writer, occasional feelings of panic and depression are part of the territory. The blues are usually gone the next day and once again, I take up the quest.
I'd love to hear from you folks at Avalon about my manuscript--especially if the news is good!
Lori Covington

Elisabeth Rose said...

We Avalon authors play the waiting game too, Lori. :)

I fire my sweet stories off to Avalon--and wait-- and my non Avalon genres to other places--and wait. My theory is to have plenty of stuff out there and forget about it while writing something (or several somethings) else.

Beate Boeker said...

I agree with Lis . . . the best way to keep sane is to shoot off the manuscript and then try to concentrate on something else. Also, for submissions to Avalon, expect at least six months before you hear anything, so don't even get nervous before that date. And yes, the more you write, and the more irons you have in the fire, the better it is, because that way, there's always hope . . . even if a rejection comes in the end.

Carol Hutchens said...

Hi Sandy!
LOL on needing was a lot easier to write those words than it is to 'practice' them.
Great to see you.

Carol Hutchens said...

Hi Sandy!
LOL on needing was a lot easier to write those words than it is to 'practice' them.
Great to see you.

Carol Hutchens said...

Hi Lori!
Welcome to the Avalon Authors' blog. Sounds like you have a good start on your wait time...

Can you squeeze over on the waiting bench and make room for me? I'm waiting, too.

I like your's great that you have other irons in the fire. Hang in there and come visit us often to keep us posted on your progress.

Carol Hutchens said...

Hi Lis!

I love your theory...I try to practice the same plan, but I haven't managed the 'forgetting' part, yet.

Thanks so much for sharing.

Carol Hutchens said...

Hi Beate!
Love your advice.

And they say practice makes perfect, so...writers should master the waiting game, right?

I also agree on the rejections. They hurt, but they are a badge that shows a writer's courage, as well.

Thanks for stopping by...