I’ve never been good at waiting. I’m prone to fidgeting, pacing, and under certain circumstances, complaining. So, aside from the voices in my head needing an outlet, why in the world did I turn my focus from working in the medical field to working as a writer? I’m beginning to wonder the same thing! For months I’ve been waiting to hear from an agent and an editor on a partial manuscript I submitted back in November. I’m waiting to hear if I’ve been chosen for a pitch to Harlequin Medical Romance. I’m waiting for the results of the Golden Heart and other contests I’ve entered in the hopes of catching the eye of the agents/editors who are final judges. Everyday I check my e-mail dozens of times and stalk the mailman.

A writer friend of mine is still following up on a manuscript she submitted back in 2008. (And that is not a typo….2008!) I’ve read blogs where writers have received rejection letters 3-5 YEARS after submitting a manuscript.

What I’d like to know from all you writers out there is how do you deal with the waiting? Do you work on another manuscript so you’ll have two to sell when you get “the call”? (FYI, this is what the experts say you should do.) Or are you like me….a compulsive e-mail and snail mail checker? Is there a cure for this? Any suggestions? HELP!

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  • Linda Rader
    Posted March 18, 2010 at 6:35 PM | Permalink

    Wow, you have patience. I am no good at waiting. But putting yourself out there is what it is all about. Congrats on waiting.

  • Wendy Marcus
    Posted March 18, 2010 at 6:41 PM | Permalink

    Thanks, Linda! When you put it like that, maybe waiting isn't so bad after all.

  • John M. Baron
    Posted March 18, 2010 at 7:51 PM | Permalink

    You don't have to be good at waiting — I'd suggest you throw yourself into something else: another book is an excellent idea. All that energy you're spending on fretting and checking and wondering could be used for something that will actually make a difference in the future. I'm not saying this is easy, but with practice it gets better. And it's healthier than eating junk (chocolate?!) and being irritable all the time.

  • Wendy Marcus
    Posted March 18, 2010 at 7:58 PM | Permalink

    I'm happy to say that in between my frequent mail checks, I am writing. Would I be more productive if I could gain control of my compulsion? YES. I'm working on it. As for chocolate…I'm proud to say I have mastered this addiction. (I don't keep it in the house.) Re: being irritable all the time….I didn't mention this in my post….have you been in contact with my husband???

  • John M. Baron
    Posted March 18, 2010 at 8:56 PM | Permalink

    Well, he DID happen to mention…

    No. I just know how I get when I'm impatient.

  • Terri
    Posted March 18, 2010 at 9:36 PM | Permalink

    You know the old saw people say when you're squirming about getting another year old: Think of the alternative.

    Re: agent: IDK if this was requested material or not, but if it was, I'd view it as an indication of how responsive s/he might be if you were an actual client. Not so hot. You're reviewing them, too, you know.
    If the material wasn't requested, you may never hear from an agent who decides to pass.
    Those who do let you know will generally reject pretty swiftly, I think.
    With regard to the editor, I'm going with no news is good news.

  • Wendy Marcus
    Posted March 18, 2010 at 9:55 PM | Permalink

    Thanks, Terri! I think I'll make 'No news is good news' my new mantra!

  • Dale
    Posted March 19, 2010 at 3:30 AM | Permalink

    Found a quote by Isaac Asimov: You must keep sending work out; you must never let a manuscript do nothing but eat its head off in a drawer. You send this work out again and again, while you're working on another one. If you have talent, you will receive some measure of success-but only if you persist.

  • Regina Richards
    Posted March 19, 2010 at 4:05 AM | Permalink

    For me, waiting finally just grew too exhausting. Now I send it and forget it. That way when the rejection arrives it sort of hits me like a pie in the face. Not pleasant, but at least I didn't see it coming. 🙂

  • Wendy Marcus
    Posted March 19, 2010 at 11:47 AM | Permalink

    Hi, Dale!
    Thank you for taking the time to find that lovely quote. I've read something similar in the past, but I needed to see it again.

  • Wendy Marcus
    Posted March 19, 2010 at 12:06 PM | Permalink

    Hi, Regina!
    Thanks for the visual! Now, next time I receive a rejection, I'll think of warm pecan or hot apple pie (ala mode)…but in my belly not on my face. And snap…instant happy!

  • lesleehome
    Posted March 20, 2010 at 6:57 PM | Permalink

    While you are waiting can be please help Jaclyn analyze Emily Dickikenson's poem called "The Birds begun to sing at four o'clock"! AP English is too hard for me. Anyone else know what this poem is about and how does it show Emily's religious beliefs? If nobody can help us with this poem, I know the Great Gatsby will be the next challenge. I am sure we will need help with that too.

  • Wendy Marcus
    Posted March 20, 2010 at 7:22 PM | Permalink

    Thanks for stopping by, Leslee! I wish I could help you, but I write romance for heavens sake! I will post on two of my friends' sites who may be able to help you. Good luck!

  • Terri
    Posted March 20, 2010 at 9:50 PM | Permalink

    Arrgh. I wrote a long post to Leslee and lost it. Twice. Because I am switching back and forth from Google, probably. Which, actually, Jaclyn can probably do too. But perhaps this will help start her off.
    I haven't studied Emily Dickinson much and only know a few of her poems. The one cited isn't one of them and I can't find it on Google. Did you mean this one?
    At half-past three a single bird
    Unto a silent sky
    Propounded but a single term
    Of cautious melody.

    At half-past four, experiment
    Had subjugated test,
    And lo! her silver principle
    Supplanted all the rest.

    At half-past seven, element
    Nor implement was seen,
    And place was where the presence was,
    Circumference between.

    Found something at this site that may help also. http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/155

    "Dickinson's poetry reflects her loneliness and the speakers of her poems generally live in a state of want, but her poems are also marked by the intimate recollection of inspirational moments which are decidedly life-giving and suggest the possibility of happiness. Her work was heavily influenced by the Metaphysical poets of seventeenth-century England, as well as her reading of the Book of Revelation and her upbringing in a Puritan New England town which encouraged a Calvinist, orthodox, and conservative approach to Christianity."

    This site may help: http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/155

  • Terri
    Posted March 20, 2010 at 9:58 PM | Permalink

    This looks like a good site, too.


    When I was in school, we didn't have Google, of course. We had to go to the library.

    You might want to take a look at the Book of Revelations to start.

  • Wendy Marcus
    Posted March 20, 2010 at 10:14 PM | Permalink

    Wow! Thanks, Terri. This looks great!

  • John M. Baron
    Posted March 20, 2010 at 11:22 PM | Permalink

    Hi Leslee. This is one of Ms. Dickinson's poems from 1863 (#504 in Franklin's The Poems of Emily Dickinson):

    The Birds begun at Four o'clock –
    Their period for Dawn –
    A Music numerous as space –
    But neighboring as Noon –

    I could not count their Force –
    Their numbers did expend
    As Brook by Brook bestows itself
    To multiply the Pond.

    The listener – was not –
    Except Occasional Man –
    In homely industry arrayed –
    To overtake the Morn –

    Nor was it for applause –
    That I could ascertain –
    But independent Extasy
    Of Universe, and Men –

    By Six, the Flood had done –
    No tumult there had been
    Of Dressing, of Departure –
    Yet all the Band – was gone –

    The Sun engrossed the East –
    The Day Resumed the World –
    The Miracle that introduced
    Forgotten, as fulfilled.

    I think you should ignore what all the experts say. That's the way to find your own interpretation. If you go right to the experts it can narrow your vision because you already know the "right answer." You can check the consensus of the experts afterward, once you've had the chance to form your very own opinion.

    Treat it like you're interpreting the words of a popular song. You probably do this all the time. What's the first thing the song/poem makes you think? The second thing? Now look deeper: what's the third? The fourth?

    To me, this poem is a demonstration of how she sees god manifested in nature, and how nature praises god. Every day. She also says that everyone can see this for themselves if they'll only pay attention.

    I find this same theme throughout much of her poetry. Someone more biblically inclined might read this otherwise. The question you have to answer is how you see it.

  • lesleehome
    Posted March 21, 2010 at 12:04 AM | Permalink

    Thanks Terri and John – you both really helped.
    We may need your help again.
    Leslee and Jaclyn

  • Wendy Marcus
    Posted March 21, 2010 at 12:41 AM | Permalink

    Thanks, John! I'm proud to say some really smart people frequent my blog!!!!! If I ever see a medical question on your blog I'll try to return the favor.

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