When it comes to waiting, I have less patience than my five year old twins at the Post Office during holiday season. And the thing that I'm really disappointed to discover, is that apparently no matter where you are in your writing career, the waiting never actually gets any easier. Not really.
Sure, you KNOW that you'll hear back from your editor eventually. It will be in less than six months because that's when your book is on the schedule for release. But regardless of that contract you have tucked under your pillow, the doubts and anxieties that accompany a submission apparently don't go away. Or I should say... they haven't for me.
I know what you're thinking: At least they've bought from me before. And they have. But that was a different book. And the one they bought after that... it was different too. But this one... what if it's not right? What if it just hasn't hit the mark?? What if I need to scrap it and start from scratch??? What if...
Take my word for it, I can "What If" until the cows come home-- but you get the point. The doubts remain and at times they can be near paralyzing. So what to do besides hand wringing, nail biting, and inbox stalking??
Well, I've done different things at different stages in the game, but gist remains the same: Make the most of my time.
When an editor (or critique partner) has my manuscript, I really don't want to tool around with it until I hear back from her. So once I hit send, I tend to take a day or two off (until I get twitchy to write again), and then I force myself to leave the submitted work completely alone and pick up a new or different project. Something that takes my mind completely off the book I've turned in. Or at least while I'm working on it, it does--there's not a lot I can do about those middle of the night, ceiling staring fret-fests. But in the light of day, my favorite mind-shifting pastime is plotting out a new story. I've usually got an idea that I've been playing with in the back of my mind, and I love that first opportunity to really give in to it and let the story work it's way out through a handfull of hours spent frantically scribbling, while curled up in the corner of my couch. And from there, I go to drafting.
How far I get in the new WIP varies depending on how quickly I hear back from my editor, but the great thing is that even though I know I'm going to have to (temporarily) drop this new story when my revisions come in, I also know that once I've hit SEND again... I have this cool new project started, just waiting for me to pick it up again.
So where am I now? Three weeks into the waiting game. Refusing to give into the urge to email my editor and plead with her to let me keep tweaking my manuscript until she has the time to read it. I have a new book plotted, several scenes sketched out, and the first two chapters written. I won't lie to you. The nerves are a persistant thing, and when I've scratched the writing itch for the day, I'm usually pretty desperate to find another distraction. Fortunately, I have months of movies, books and chit-chat with my friends to catch up on from when I was pushing through to hit my deadline!
TABLOID AFFAIR, SECRETLY PREGNANT! will be available in the UK in Nov 2010, with a US release to follow.
Come back next month for FIRST THINGS FIRST as we follow Mira's first year of publication.