Can anyone honestly say they enjoy waiting? I don’t think humans are born with natural fountains of patience. Trouble is, this industry is full of opportunities to test a writer’s patience: waiting for a response to a submission, for replies from agents/editors, for contracts or rejections, for feedback or good news or pigs to start flying. All this waiting leaves writers with plenty of time to wallow in their own self-doubt and insecurities. Or maybe that’s just me. Anyway, instead of trying in vain to grow a patience organ, I think instead writers need to become masters of distraction. Here are my top 6 forms of distraction:
- Get out of the house: coffee, a movie, and catching up with friends are all sure fire ways to keep my head from imploding
- Watch an old favourite: pull out a DVD that’s sure to make you laugh and cry, nothing too serious, but with a focus on escapism. My current top picks are Pride and Prejudice (BBC version), Mulan (Disney), 10 Things I Hate About You, and Empire Records … please don’t judge me
- Baking: my fiance knows that if he comes home to fresh scones, I’ve had a bad day. Baking makes me happy
- Gym: adrenalin is good. Running is my drug. Working out also helps to combat the negative side effects of distraction tip number 3…
- Taking my pup for a walk: fresh air combined with my puppy’s never ending well of joy in the small things always makes me smile. Also my dog park is full of lovely people who love to talk about dogs and don’t know about my writing, which equals distractions aplenty
- Blogging: a great way to feel connected, understood and heard. This is clearly my choice of distraction for the day!
These methods can only be used to overcome short term waiting periods (by which I mean a day or two). If short term waiting turns into long term waiting, then the above methods constitute procrastination. Unfortunately most waiting in this industry is long term, which can only really be battled by jumping into the next writing or illustrating project. No one has said it better than Stephen King: bum in seat, and write the damn book.
But I do allow myself a day or two of distraction. So, now that I’ve finished blogging I’m off to cook some scones. Anyone else have any good tips to share?