The most wonderful part of writing is well, writing. There is such joy in letting a story flow right through you as characters come to life and act out an entire plot line of drama, comedy, suspense, love, relationships, and intrigue. There is something magical about pulling a person from your imagination and breathing “life” into them.
Then there’s the anticipation of having someone read your story and enjoy its unfolding as much as you enjoyed creating.
Even the editing and revisions, as tedious and tiresome as they can be, hold some sort of magic and power of their own. You’re left with the feeling of crafting something beautiful and original, of breathing your soul into a creation.
But somehow, once the story is complete, the main character’s journey has ended and all the subplots have neatly been tied up and tucked away, when the last comma has been properly placed and the last sentence punctuated, there comes that feeling of being in an eternal waiting room. I think it’s the absolute worst part of being a writer. You send out your queries, your synopsis, your sample chapters, your bio and marketing plan and wait for someone with “power” to tell you that your story is sellable.
Being accepted by an agent or a publisher isn’t a guarantee that you work is good, only that it’s marketable. Some of the classics of old wouldn’t stand a chance today because the standards have changed, or at least that’s what I tell myself. It makes it a little more bearable whenever the rejection emails (used to be slips in the mail) start coming or when you go for days, weeks on end, with no reply at all, to the dozens of companies to which you’ve submitted. You wait…and wait…and wait…and wait…to get rejected over and over and over, until finally someone says yes or until you get frustrated that they can’t see the brilliance of your work and decide to self publish or go with a vanity publisher. No matter which way you go, you’re left with the daunting task of marketing and promotion.
That’s where I’m at now. I just finished my newest work. I’ve sent it out there, not getting any responses from my usual publishers. Maybe it’s COVID related. Maybe books just aren’t moving like they were. Maybe tomorrow I will get that “yes” in the mail. Sometimes, I even welcome a no as opposed to the constant–waiting. Writers can be ultra patient while working on a story but this writer is not patient when it comes to waiting on responses. Oh, I know all the reasons it takes so long for editors to get back to me, and I am aware of how many manuscripts editors must see, but that doesn’t make the waiting any more pleasurable than knowing that your dentist is busy makes a shot in the gum less painful.
Tonight I sit here wondering, “Do I send out my letter, bio, synopsis, and chapters to another seven people? Or do I wait in hopes that one of the ones I really had my heart set on accepts it? What if I get accepted by a lesser company and sign a contract then a bigger more promising offer comes along?”
Maybe I set a six month deadline and keep my readers hanging on a while longer. Maybe I say to myself, “If it isn’t accepted in six months, I’ll just self publish it,” but I don’t want to self-publish. And what if I self-publish, then a week later, the publisher of my dreams says, “Hey, we’d like to publish your manuscript?” Eek!
So, I take a sip of chamomile tea, close my copy of Writer’s Market and say, “Wait a few more days. Then select promising candidates and send your unique story (sometimes unique is a hindrance because people like songs they already know words to, so-to-speak) out there again. One day, this new and different piece of work will find a home, be accepted and perhaps, become a familiar song and it won’t be a blues tune or maybe it will. Maybe a blues tune is the kind of story the world is waiting for.