I have decided that I will no longer refer to myself as a writer. I am now a waiter. Not in the sense of delivering dishes to your table, hot and without finger marks in the gravy. Rather in the sense of waiting by the mailbox. Or the inbox, as is mostly the case.
I know that waiting time is writing time. All good writers send off submissions – manuscripts, proposals, pitches, library membership application forms – and then promptly forget about them, throwing themselves immediately into their next project.
I try. I really do.
But I’m an impatient kind of a girl. I can’t help checking my inbox daily – okay, several thousand times a day. I can’t help wondering – aloud and ad nauseum. And I find it really, really hard to concentrate on other things. Like… well, anything really.
It’s bad enough when you’re waiting for one thing. When your knickers are in a knot over several things at once – as mine are at present – it makes it really hard to walk. Not with any elegance, anyway.
I’m lucky. I have good friends who are excellent writers and they talk me down from the ceiling on a regular basis. Be patient, they advise. Keep busy, they suggest. Don’t call, they insist.
So I don’t. Instead, I spend my time devising the writer’s rules for waiting.
- That all-important email is not stuck in cyberspace. So it does not matter how many times you click ‘get mail’. Desist. You do not need RSI at this point in your career.
- Everything will happen at once. So be ready.
That’s it. Waiting is very debilitating. See how it’s draining my inspiration. When you can’t even write a 10-point list, you know you’re in trouble.
I’m not alone, I know. Everyone is waiting for something. Godot, for example. But waiting, like writing, is a lonely business, full of self-doubt and insecurity.
On the other hand, it’s a whole lot better than rejection.
But that’s a subject for another day. Probably the day my waiting ends.
Which is, apparently, never. Sigh.