I’m in the middle of the waiting game once again. Having submitted my latest novel out for query, I’m now waiting for someone to see that kernel of value, that spark of something in the story, and in me, that’s worth taking a chance on and working with.
This is such a difficult time. I’m not a patient person by nature, but I know and recognize the importance of waiting patiently; of allowing things to unfold as they must.
But waiting is hard. It can lead to self-doubt. It can bring up every fear you’ve ever known, and make you face it down again and again, on what can seem like a daily basis. I’ve also noticed that people spend a great deal of time waiting. We wait till Friday to celebrate the weekend. We wait till we’re married, till we have children, till we’re retired…till we’re dead. After that last one, we’re kinda done waiting. But what if instead of just waiting around, we DID something? What if we allowed ourselves to let go of the waiting game and got on with living? I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of waiting to get on with my life.
So, during the waiting period between projects, I allow myself the time it takes to craft the query letter, have it edited for mistakes, and then begin the process of sending out the letters. When an agent (or publisher) expresses interest in your project, they’ll ask for a partial or a full copy of the completed manuscript. Talk about facing fears! I realized that only when we are facing our fears are we moving forward. I realized that all the “waiting” involved in writing actually allows me to take stock of where I’m going, where I want to be, who I want to move forward with. Rather than saying I’m waiting, maybe I should call it what it is; pausing. I’m pausing to make sure I’m on track, that I know where I’m going. I’m pausing to take a few steadying breaths before the roller coaster of life picks up speed again. See, I don’t care for roller coasters either; too scary! So, I’m pausing, not waiting.
But while I go through each of these necessary steps, I caution myself to be patient. I meditate to help keep myself grounded in my vision and in myself; my purpose. I take this small break and read books by writers whose work I really enjoy. I begin thinking about the next project. I begin researching for the next project. But I’m always cautious.
I recently watched an episode of Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday (yes, I’m a seeker) and heard author, Brene Brown, talk about the fact that people are so cautious, so careful not to go to extremes, that they don’t give themselves permission to cry when they’re really sad or struggling. Conversely, people often feel reluctant to give in to pure joy when something goes really right for them, or when their hearts are absolutely touched by something, or someone. I had my own ah ha moment right there (I’ve been having a lot lately). I realized I do a lot of that. I caution myself not to get too excited when something really good happens, and not to get too despondent when something goes awry.
I realized I’m cheating myself of some of my life’s most important lessons and feelings. What am I waiting for? When I’m really down and sad, I should be able to cry. When I’m joyous, I should be able to just shout out, jump around, do my “whoop whoops”, or even cry tears of joy. I don’t need anyone’s permission. In fact, I need to give myself permission to feel, really feel, whatever it is I’m feeling. I need to honour that expression of myself. Then, if I’m sad and struggling, I can pick myself back up and move on. Slowly maybe, but move on nevertheless. When I’m overcome with joy and I express it aloud, I feel GREAT! Then I can calm down and return to my regularly scheduled program. Allowing myself to express what I’m truly feeling in those basic terms frees me.
Now, I’m not talking about saying whatever the heck I feel to anyone and everyone. I still believe in treating others with kindness and respect. I don’t mean I should just tell everyone what I think, because sometimes I need time to consider what I really do think. That’s a whole different animal.
I’m talking about expressing feelings. I’m talking about giving myself permission to feel what I feel, then move on. It means learning the lessons that come with life, as much as possible. I’m getting there. One tear and whoop at a time. Oh, and I’m grateful every day. When I’m sad, it can help if I can find even one thing to be grateful for. When I’m full of joy, I start with shouting, or whispering, “Thank You.”
This journey of writing is teaching me a great deal about myself, about life, and about the value of waiting, or pausing. Whoop, whoop!