Writer’s Anxiety: A Waiting Game

Let’s play a game. It’s called: write something and wait.

What are we waiting for, you ask?

Any number of things, my dear contestant!

You could be waiting for:

  • A beta reader to finish your book
  • A Critique Partner (CP) to send you their edits
  • A PitchWars Mentor to send a request or response
  • A contact to give you some research information
  • An agent to send a response to a query letter
  • A phone call saying this is it, let’s get published
  • A publishing house bidding and winning
  • An editor to give you their notes
  • An unsuspecting public to embrace your book like their long-lost best friend

All of these things are built on top of the baseline of writing being a largely solitary act. So when you’ve got to hurry up and wait, it can be tough to calm your nerves and function like a Non-Anxious Human.

What you can do to keep yourself sane:

  • Read something. I know it can be tough to walk away from what you’re working on, but clearing out your head a little can help you keep everything straight.
  • Distract yourself. Whether that’s by playing Super Mario Brothers, watching Doctor Who, or perusing the endless depths of the Tumblr Dashboard, sometimes you just need something to put your mind somewhere else.
  • Use the energy. Be productive. Productive is a loose term, though. You could go on a three-mile walk-jog, write an epic poem, clean the fridge and stove, jump up and down a lot, or drill back into your own revisions.
  • Don’t stalk your empty inbox. I mean, try your best. Maybe only… once every… ten minutes? #addictions
  • Coffee. Enough said, amiright? Though maybe, sometimes, tea is better. (Let’s try decaff just this once, k?)

What types of things do you do when the Waiting Game is winning? What sort of distractions do you use? What has worked for you in the past?

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