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?