"Patience is a virtue": That mantra was drilled into me at a very early age, but I've never really taken to it so much, as I've simply tolerated the reality of it.
The writing life is one with a hurry-up-and-wait mentality at times. It takes time to write a story. It takes time to submit a story. It takes time for those accepted stories to be published. And the only way to not drive yourself crazy is to move onto the next one.
I've got about a dozen stories out there in the ether right now, waiting months for a thumbs up or a thumbs down. And waiting months for a rejection is a heartbreaker, not matter how well you keep it out of mind. Granted, the long awaited acceptances are always great, but that uniform rejection popping up in my inbox always comes with the jingle from The Price Is Right when the contestant goes over the suggested retail price. But that's the Waiting Game, ain't it?
The ability to wait is necessary when writing too, I've found. Yes, always write. But it takes time for those words to gel, draft after draft. I've tried fixing my stories on the fly, essentially reworking that first draft as I go until it is just right. But that is an exercise in aggravation. I find, despite the despondency that sometimes comes from writing a terrible first draft, I just have to wait until I can dive into the second and third before I find the heart of the story.
I'm reworking a short story right now. It's one that kind of fell apart on me. But I stewed on it, and I think I've finally figured out the tone I want for it--and the ending. The hardest part of that process was the waiting.
How do you handle the Waiting Game?