What to do when you’re… waiting

Writers are always waiting for something. We're used to it. But what can we do instead of watching repeats of American Idol or Desperate Housewives? Well, lots of stuff, actually.

Writers are excellent waiters. We have to be. It’s part of our job description.
In one way or another we scribes often find ourselves in a state of anticipation, whether we’re waiting to hear back from a prospective literary agent or on tenterhooks about feedback regarding the latest article we submitted to Whatever! magazine.

That’s exactly the position I find myself in at the moment. And it’s fine, you know. I’m a writer. I’m used to waiting. It happens to all of us.

So what do we do with our time? What are our options when it comes to filling the gaps between writing projects, or the stop-start process of a long piece of work?

In this episode I come up with a few suggestions. I also end up with a red mark across the middle of my chin.

Watch this episode on Vimeo

10 Comments

leah@leahmacvie.com 30 September 2010 Reply

Wow…waiting…do you mean….free time?! I can only dream about this day.
If I had time, I would definitely focus on learning a language! I would travel, if I had the money. I would build up some blog posts at the same time. I also agree with jotting down notes/or getting started on the next project.

The problem for me is juggling writing with my business and my job. That is always a dilemma.

“Do visit writeforyourlife.net”…haha. Cute video!

Anonymous 30 September 2010 Reply

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Iain Broome, Nick Halme. Nick Halme said: RT @iainbroome: What's a writer to do when you're… waiting? http://t.co/uyJhzQj […]

george@tumblemoose.com 30 September 2010 Reply

Hey Iain,
That oh-so-precious time is used for my “writing for me” stuff. It always seems to end up on the back burner!

Oh yes, it is also used for sleep!

George

ghostwritermc@gmail.com 1 October 2010 Reply

To help prevent down-time,I run a number of projects at the same time. This can have disastrous consequences, as we all know. But money’s money and sitting around waiting doesn’t seem to bring it in.

stacysue2u@yahoo.com 4 October 2010 Reply

I like your suggestions, Iain. I too, try to have more than one project going at a time, so there’s no real lapse in the writing schedule. (I squeeze it in between time with my day job and time with my family.)However a holiday sounds superb!
I do find myself thinking about my stories and characters while tackling other tasks, such as washing the dishes, playing the piano or attempting to learn woodcarving. So maybe it’s never a true break?

Good topic…a lot to think about, eh?

julie.a.lindsey@gmail.com 14 October 2010 Reply

Always a great topic for writers. I’ve addressed this one recently as well. Waiting really is a big part of writing. Lately, I’ve begun guest blogging while I wait and writing pieces of flash fiction for online contests. This way, I’m still writing, but I come back to my manuscripts with fresh eyes. Oh, I’ve also joined a critique group and do beta reading as a way to see what others are writing and how their works are coming along. Also, I try to get out into the sunlight when possible :)Thanks for a very fun and relevant post!

iain@writeforyourlife.net 22 October 2010 Reply

Thanks for all your comments and sorry for the delay in replying – was hoping to geta new comment system but it’s taking a while! Anyway…
@Leah MacVie – I have the same day job dilemma and there’s very little we can do apart from plough on I’m afraid! It really does take up time, doesn’t it. 😉

@George – Sleep? What’s sleep?

@Michael – I hear ya – I’m bery much a man of multiple projects and find that it helps keep me thinking and on my toes.

@Stacy Post – See above! And yes, you’re right, us creative types never get a true break as such, but then I guess we wouldn’t have it any other way.

@Julie Anne Lindsey – All great suggestions – sounds like you have your waiting time absolutely sorted!

jason.b.hubbard@gmail.com 3 November 2010 Reply

I generally get on with the next writing job, and don’t bother thinking about the one that I just finished until I hear back from the publisher, if I hear back. Most of my writing is non fiction, so in between gigs I generally need to get some research done, so I’m most likely reading and note taking.
Though more recently I’ve been running more than one project at a time, which has been entertaining in a a good and bad way. Another thing I do is to source out other potential jobs, contacting publishers and doing research on publishers etc, all done around my day job.

iain@writeforyourlife.net 5 November 2010 Reply

Sounds like you have your waiting time sorted. It’s definitely a good idea to keep busy, I think. And moving on to the next writing project is as good a way as any!

Anonymous 22 June 2011 Reply

[…] we have to find other things to write and do while we’re waiting. We have to keep faith, control our ego-gland and know that, eventually, all the waiting will, […]

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