Anyone who has ever submitted a manuscript for publication knows that this business is ALL about waiting. You submit. You wait. And wait. And wait. Should your manuscript get an offer then you wait and wait and wait even longer for your manuscript to become a book.

People will tell you to keep writing while you wait, and you should. I always do, but that doesn’t mean I have forgotten about the fact that I am waiting to hear back on something else.

I have a sub that’s been out for seventeen weeks and counting now. I’m not sure there’s been a day where I didn’t spend at least some time obsessing, holding my breath as I checked email, searching for any signs of when I might hear. I have alternately convinced myself my manuscript has been rejected, accepted, or lost. I have wished away weekends because responses aren’t sent on weekends. In short, this submission has consumed me just a little bit.

I wish it was a switch I could turn off, but my brain just works this way. Patience is not my virtue and let’s face it, as writers, we have over active imaginations. We’re always thinking “what if?”

One thing that has helped the tiniest bit was a piece of “advice” I recently read on a message board. In regards to waits the poster said basically short wait time or long wait time tells you nothing. Having not heard back just means you haven’t heard back. There’s no secret formula to tell you what the outcome is going to be until the outcome… Comes out.

I try to repeat this to myself when I’m spending too much time on Twitter or message boards. I’m not done obsessing, but my obsession is WHEN I will hear, not WHAT I will hear. I can’t predict the publisher or agent’s answer, there is no secret formula. What if-ing the outcome to death doesn’t do anything productive.

So, I’ll still check my email a zillion times per day, but I won’t be reading into the wait.

Ok, I’ll try not to anyway.