Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Waiting Game

You know, I'm fairly good at poker. My hubby doesn't stand a chance against me, nor do most of our friends. I'm even quite good at Monopoly (yes, I like to play board games and YES I can hear you think 'freak'!) and at all kinds of other games.

But over the last few weeks I've realized one thing. I suck at the waiting game. I sssuuuuccckkk! As in royally suck.

You don't know what the waiting game is?

Come on, try again.

I'm sure every writer out there knows that game.

And I'm quite sure most of you hate (HATE!!!) it as much as I do.

It's a bit like gambling. Maybe like roulette. Because as soon as that little ball (aka query letter) is out there, there's nothing you can do. You watch and wait. And you hope. But there's nothing you can do.


But I tell you, roulette is easier and not as nerve-wrecking as the waiting game. Because roulette is over within a few seconds. The ball stops and then you know exactly if you've won or not. But the waiting game? No such luck.

You wait and wait and wait. And there's no guarantee that the little ball will ever stop (aka Will I ever get a response? When do I have to stop hoping for one?) Of course if the ball never stops it's also an answer. Because if it never stops, it will definitely not stop on the field you chose. So you lose, though the ball never stops. But it takes weeks, maybe months until you realize that. Until you stop hoping.

Imagine the stress? If you play roulette the anxiety lasts a few seconds. But in the waiting game? Weeks and months of anxiety. And every time you look at the roulette table (aka your email inbox) you hope the ball has finally stopped (a reply!) and you beg that it has chosen your field to stop. But then after a while you just hope it stops at all, even if it lands on another field (aka rejection) because you want to know.

You need to know.

If you think about it, we writers are the masters of gambling. Because we don't only play at a single roulette table. We play at ten tables, maybe even more. So there are many, many balls we want to stop on our field.

Maybe we enjoy the constant anxiety? The sleepless nights? The sting of rejection?

I don't think we do. But we know if we don't play the waiting game, if we don't throw the little ball and hope for it to land on our field, then we'll never have the chance to win. But we want to win.

And so we bear the anxiety, the sleepless nights, the uncertainty.

So we watch the tiny ball spin and spin and spin. Until it seems like it's all we're doing.


Always waiting.

And hoping.

And never stopping.

Because that's what gamblers do.

Never stop.

And then one day, maybe, we'll hit the jackpot.

And that's the reason why we gamble (aka query) isn't it?


Aubrie said...

I hate waiting as well. I'm an impatient person!!! And queries take sooo long to hear back sometimes! Oh well. Good luck with your waiting!

VĂ©ro L said...

I think my waiting game is over with this field (WIP) but I'm ready to be starting it again with a different field as soon as it's ready!! Yup we are suckers for punishment! :)

Lindsay said...

I hate waiting too and I've not even sent a query yet. I'm still slogging out revisions and getting critiques back. But the waiting on that part gets to me.
Good luck:)

Alyson said...

I'm no where near ready to play the waiting game, but I know I'll be the computer fiend checking my email every two minutes looking for an reply. I hope your gamble pays big!

Southpaw said...

I go crazy waiting for people to get ready to go to lunch. I’m going be a basket case come query time.

By the way, I don’t know if I commented on this already or not, but I love the new look.

Unknown said...

I really think they are going to put "She's still waiting to hear back..." on my tombstone.

So I am right there with ya. I can't remember a time in my life when I wasn't waiting to hear back from an agent. Although I can't believe I'm going to say this: it does get easier the more you do it.

Dr. Mohamed said...

The best antidote to waiting is to stay busy, busy, busy with other stuff :)