If you’ve attempted to sell your writing either to an agent or through an agent to a publisher you know that a significant part of your energy is spent in the waiting.
Waiting is excruciating. It is a knot at the pit of your stomach that won’t go away. The hope, the anticipation you feel every time you check your email. The tiny skip your heart makes each time your phone tells you there’s a new text message.
I hate the waiting.
One would think that, understanding that the process can take weeks and weeks, you could forget for a few moments that you’re waiting for something important. And you do forget, or simply disremember now and then for brief moments at least. But then with a lurch, you remember what you’re waiting for, what a nod or a rejection could mean and the knot comes back, the heart skips and the eagerness to know what will happen next feels as if it will destroy you.
It’s far worse than waiting for Christmas, or a vacation or some other highly anticipated event. These events you know without doubt will happen. Christmas will come. There will be gifts, and good food and a tree, friends and family. Vacation will eventually arrive at its designated time.
In the publishing process, you know that eventually you will hear something but you have no idea what form it will take. A yes, a no. A short, formula rejection sent to hundreds of others just like you who waited with hope only to have their dreams dashed. Or a longer, nicer, detailed rejection that spells out all of the work’s flaws.
It could be a yes. People have received them. We dream about the yes.
In the waiting, we just want it to be something, one or the other, but something damn soon or you’re going to go crazy.