A Stone's Throw

practice your aim. you never know when you'll spy 2 birds at once.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Waiting Disease

There are plenty of things to hate in the writing world. Rejection letters. Writer's block. A magazine goes under. An agent doesn't even bother to send you a rejection letter. Buying expensive toner cartridges. Having to work another job and then muster the energy to write when you come home. Etc.

But nothing is worse than the waiting. I think that is the biggest reason a lot of writers give up - they simply can't deal with the waiting. I'll give an example.

I submitted a story to a magazine and began the waiting process. About three months later they notified me that the story had made it through the first round of readings by their editor. They said I would be notified if I made the final cut. Four months passed and then I received another notice that the story had made it to the final 20 out of which they would choose 12 for their magazine. Two more months passed before they sent me an email that my story was not selected.

Sure, I was bummed. It would've been a good zine to get into. But mostly I hated that it had taken 9 months to essentially get a 'no'. I took the rejection in stride (albeit with a smattering of curse words), and submitted it to another magazine. This time it took 3 months before the editor of that magazine emailed me requesting some changes to the story. I completed the changes over the weekend and sent it to him. 3 months passed. Then I get the email saying he bought it.

Elation. Relief. Accomplishment. Validation. Et al.

But this is what I'm getting at - it took 15 months of straight waiting just to get the opinions of 2 editors. Now, I was lucky on the second editor, and the story was published. Yet for many other stories the wait can be almost endless. It's a crapshoot really, finding the right editor that sees something special in your story.

Here's another couple issues to deal with while waiting. It just happened to a writing friend of mine. He had one editor say the story was too short for the scope of the plot. Right after that, a different editor thought the story was too long.

You can just imagine the head aches. But when the sale happens, it makes it all worth it. And I've got a lifetime of waiting ahead of me. Just off the top of my head, I can think of one story that was shortlisted for a book anthology, but I won't know til around December if they will buy the story. This is a story that I sent them in December 2009. You might ask - really, it takes them a year to make a decision? Apparently so.

The only cure for the disease of waiting is keeping busy. That's it. Nothing else. So I push on. Been researching for a new story, The Ghon. Had 3 new book ideas recently, so I'm making notes as they happen upon me. Gearing up to do the final edit for another book, Atocongo Bridge, about street kids in Peru.

Anything to help me forget about the waiting.

- C


  • At 6:20 PM , Anonymous Dale Carothers said...

    I'm posting a link to your blog on mine.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home