The Art of Patience

The hardest thing about writing is waiting. At least, that’s the conclusion I came to earlier this week.

I was standing at the sink, washing dishes to the umpteenth time that day and allowing my mind to wander over my recent writing endeavours. Since I returned from my summer holidays, I have submitted queries for my forthcoming novel to countless agents and publishers (okay, I do have a count of them in a spreadsheet somewhere, but the number doesn’t immediately spring to mind). I have also submitted short stories for quite a few competitions, and a number of anthologies. In all honestly, I haven’t really stopped – I even penned an entry for the Costa Short Story Award while on holiday, literally using a pencil and a notepad, since I was stateside sans laptop. So old-school.

I wrote and wrote, and I submitted and submitted and… well, I’m still writing. And waiting. And waiting. And…waiting.

The rejections are one thing, and there have been a few of those, but the silence is definitely the hardest part. Silence allows space for questions – what do they think of my work? What if they hated it? Is it already in the bin? Will they ever reply? How long should I wait?

Argh – questions.

So, by the end of the week I had decided to take matters into my own hands. I would use this waiting time productively. I would keep writing, of course, but I would identify other things I could be doing as well, and I would get on and do them. For example, if my next novel is not picked up by an agent/publisher then I will be self-publishing it this autumn. I can be ready for that – I can have the blurb, cover and graphics all done, I can prepare the promotional material I want to use, I can plan the launch. If my book gets picked up – great. If not, I’m organised.

Hopefully in the coming weeks I’ll be able to announce that I’ve been successful in an anthology or competition, or that my book has been signed up. But if not, my third novel is coming soon, nonetheless.

So watch this space for Ethersay-related announcements.

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