Is there anything tougher for a writer than waiting?
Waiting for the input of friends. Waiting to hear from an agent. Waiting for the verdict of a publisher. Waiting for critics’ notices. Waiting is the stuff of our own personal Circle of Hell.
As writers, we are not used to spinning our wheels. As writers, we are accustomed to the gift of self-determination. We create, for the most part, with our own drive, by our own initiatives; we are powered by our own heads of steam.
There is satisfaction in that. We get out of the work what we’ve put in, the visible equating of effort to result, even if we have to struggle along the way. We see results that we’ve had a hand in formulating. We have a sense (perhaps an illusory one) of self control.
But the waiting. The damned waiting.
Waiting for an agent’s call may be the toughest thing of all. Waiting for the small courtesy of a returned email. Waiting for someone else to see in you what you see in you. Waiting for an answer that is not rude or brusque. Waiting for an answer, whatever that answer turns out to be.
We create into the silence. We live in the hope of “yes.” Silence kills.
I was lucky as a younger writer. The first agent I ever sent my first book to—my beloved Henry Morrison—became my agent right away. I never had to do the Dance of Whatever. That was a good thing. And not. It spoiled me. It led me to expectations that a less courteous industry (and, perhaps, a less civil world) has felt no need to fulfill.
Just a word? Please? Even if that word is “no”?