Monday, October 26, 2009

Things I Learned From My Kids: How To Wait

Last week was so fun for me. I enjoyed getting to know you all a little better. I think I've made more friends with this blog in the last month an a half than I've made in person in the last 10 years. So thanks everyone. It's nice to know you.

Now let me tell you a little story. On Saturday I decided to take my two youngest children to a swine flu vaccination clinic in my city (the clinic was only for children 6 months to 4 years so my 5- year-old didn't qualify). So, because I am a very conscientious parent, I decided we would go an hour early just so we could get a good place in line and definitely get the vaccine. I also talked my two sister-in-laws into bringing their children and coming with me.

We arrived at the very large empty shopping complex where the health department was administering the vaccines and stood in line with several thousand other early people at 9:00 AM. My children got vaccinated at 1:30 PM. All the time in between we spent freezing our little patoots off waiting in the parking lot (and trying to keep our 5 children under 4 from being hit by cars). It was an excruciating wait. 4+ hours is an eternity for kids that little--they were hungry, thirsty, cold, they needed to use the potty, they wanted to play in the street, they fought with each other--it was MISERABLE.

My writing group girls and I have recently been discussing how difficult it is to WAIT during every portion of our journey to publication.

Write Book--Wait. Revise. Send to beta readers--Wait. Revise. Send to agents--WAIT. Get an agent-- CELEBRATE! Revise. Agent sends to editors--WAIT. Get offer--CELEBRATE! Wait for editor revisions. Revise. WAIT. WAIT. WAIT. Book comes out! Do it all over again.

Publishing is not a business for impatient people. There is no instant gratification. Everything takes a long time--kind of like the line for swine flu vaccines.

When we got home from the clinic I said to my 4-year-old. "It's been a really hard morning, huh?" She looked at me funny so I tried again. "Wasn't it terrible standing in line all morning?"

She replied, "No mom. I got to play with my cousins."

I learned two things on Saturday. 1. No wait could ever be as bad as four-and-a-half hours in a freezing cold parking lot with 5 tiny children. And 2. If we keep ourselves busy with other fun things the painfully slow publishing business won't seem quite so painfully slow.

So I'll ask you: Are you doing something while you wait? Are you writing that next book? Are you staying busy with other things in life?

25 comments:

MeganRebekah said...

This goes to show that kids are still so much smarter than us. Hopefully they can keep some of that wisdom with them as they grow!

Here's to lots more waiting!

Vonna said...

What a sweet daughter you have! I would rather wait a year for an agent's reply than herd small frozen children in a parking lot like you just did.

While my first two books are seeking an agent, I'm revising my current WIP. I love the new direction my story is taking, and this helps take my mind off the waiting.

Diane said...

Sweet girl! Her focus was in the right place. I need to do more writing, but am sick this week and the brain fog is not allowing it. :O)

Tamika: said...

I'm still writing the first book, but if I'm allowed to speculate I believe my waiting period will include another book. Blogging buddies, and lots of praying!

I love children they are so resiliant.

Happy writing!

Susan R. Mills said...

What an excellent post! First of all, I do not envy you for your wait at the clinic. Sounds miserable. But you make a great point. Why not do something else why we wait?

CKHB said...

I started my blog to help keep me distracted while waiting during my agent hunt. Seriously.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Excellent post. I'm not patient and would not have handled that parking lot situation well, I'm afraid. But children are so resilient. It's good to ponder that response from your daughter--to live in the moment and find the wonder in it.
I think the key to writer waiting is to be busy with something new. I sent out a short story and haven't heard a word in weeks, but because I'm working on other things I've barely given it a thought. I hope to keep it that way.

L. T. Host said...

Hear, hear. I am totally feeling the WAIT FOR EVERYTHING right now. But it helped with my last manuscript to work on my new one. I have other things keeping me busy, too. It's definitely easier if you're not focused on waiting, I agree.

Stephanie Thornton said...

I hear you- my daughter has taught me infinite patience. I'm currently waiting for beta reviews on Book #1 so I started Book #2 this weekend. It's a breath of fresh air to be writing again after months of revising!

Bane of Anubis said...

Patience is a virtue, but patience sucks! -- sorry about the long wait... had similar stories here...

B.J. Anderson said...

There's never a dull moment! When I'm waiting, I read all the books that have been piling up while I was writing. And then I start writing the next book!

Patti said...

During my waiting I will turn to my house who needs some TLC, painting and new floors. Plus I have another project and a ton of books to read.

Jessica said...

Oh man, I would hate that! I have three, five years and younger, and I think I'd be ready to rip out my hair standing there! LOL So funny that it didn't seem long to your daughter though. And sweet.
Yep, the wait is long and I keep busy writing and revising so that I don't freak out. LOL Great post!!! :-) And thank you for commenting on my blog. :-)

Matthew Delman said...

I started my current WIP to take a break from the one I finished in April, and I'm taking a plot-break from this one while I figure out what the heck's going to happen next in it.

staceyjwarner said...

Not sure if you received my other comment, perhaps too quick on the closing trigger...

I never feel like I'm waiting and this might seem crazy but there is alwasy so much life and miracles going on the moment and the more you drop into the moment the more they are seen.

much love

Caroline Starr Rose said...

Wow. This reminds me of my trip to New Orleans last week. Isn't it amazing the perspective children have?

I think it's funny I write knowing the agony waiting is for me. Is this some weird form of self-discipline? I'm trying to get my mind on my next project while I wait, wait, wait to hear something from agents.

Jody Hedlund said...

Ah Natalie! I saw your tweet about your wait! What a bummer! But what a great analogy too! Love it!

Eileen Astels Watson said...

That wait to a parent does sound aweful. Our clinics are starting next week for the flu shots.

I write while waiting, and worship, and learn. It keeps me busy!

Belle said...

I loved this post! Our children really are our teachers, aren't they? Your little one is so wise :) As for me, I always have another novel to start working on while the previous one is waiting before I go back to revise, and so on. I'm not yet at the query stage, but my plan is to send out queries but keep writing on the current WIP and revising the previous WIP while waiting!

melane said...

Your kids must be very well behaved! Mine would have been fighting and running all over the place.

I'm still working on my first book, so no waiting yet, but I know it's part of the business.

Jill Kemerer said...

Your Saturday sounded horrible--I feel for you. The kids had a great attitude, though, so that's a good thing!

The wait was hardest with my first submission. Now, I just keep moving forward and try to focus on my current project while I wait to hear back from agents and editors. It's not so bad.

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

Ugh. Sorry about the long cold wait. But love the lesson learned. I'm busy blogging and working the day job. November will be my time to get back to serious writing. In the meantime, I'm here, waiting with you--not so patiently. ;)

Tabitha Bird said...

Oh you are so right about all the waiting in the writing world. But that morning, or rather day, you had in the parking lot tops all waiting hell that I have ever endured. You poor thing. :)

Lisa and Laura said...

Oh, I LOVE this post. We have the worst time waiting. I'm horribly, horribly impatient. That said, blogging and writing our next book have kept me very busy. In fact, on some level I'm sort of happy that our book on submission didn't sell overnight because if that had happened we'd never have had the opportunity to write our WIP. And I love our WIP. I think everything really does happen for a reason. Even the waiting.

Corey Schwartz said...

Oh, it does sound like a nightmare! (We don't have any H1N1 shots available here, but if we did I think I would have bailed on the line!)