October 2, 2014

Writing Struggles: Waiting for News

Bored dog with text: How Do You Pass the Time?

Today’s going to be a shorter post because most of yesterday was spent with me biting my nails while waiting for news on my brother’s brain surgery. As an update, the surgeons were successfully able to remove the tumor. Yay!

He still has a long recovery, and we won’t know for weeks if there’s any paralysis, but the outcome so far is the best we could have hoped for. Thank you all so much for the thoughts and prayers! (And for keeping me distracted on social media. *grin*)

But all that brought to mind how hard waiting can be, so I want to take a minute to recognize all the ways we wait, as writers, and hope that issues beyond our control go our way. Believe me, I feel your pain. *smile*

We wait for…

  • our beta readers to give their feedback
  • finalist announcements from contests we’ve entered
  • winner announcements from contests we’ve finaled in
  • rejections or requests on queries
  • rejections or requests on partials
  • rejections or offers on full submissions
  • rejections or interest from editors
  • acquisitions editors to give the A-okay
  • when we can announce our book deal or release date
  • payment from our advance
  • our editor to get back to us with changes
  • feedback on whether we fixed everything that needed fixing
  • our line/copy editor to get back to us with changes
  • our proofreader to get back to us with changes
  • our cover artist to finish our cover
  • when we can release our cover
  • our release date
  • our first reviews
  • seeing the first person we don’t know mention our book
  • our first sales
  • various milestones for number of reviews (10, 25, 50, 100)
  • various sales milestones
  • various income milestones
  • our first royalty payment
  • our first blurb-worthy quote about our book from an author we respect
  • our first fan letter

In other words, there’s a heck of a lot of things that we’re not in control of as writers, even if we self-publish. No matter what, some things will always be out of our control. Talk about real-life tension.

That means we’ll always need a plan for how to handle those issues. We’ve probably all heard the advice that the best way to pass the time (and the best way to help our author career) is to start the next book. But let’s also talk about some of the other things we can do with our time.

We can…

  • research more about the step so we’re prepared if it happens (i.e., researching what to look out for on publishing contracts when waiting to hear from an acquisitions editor, etc.)
  • research the next step so we’re ready to move forward (i.e. researching editors while waiting to hear from beta readers, etc.)
  • write the synopsis, query, or back-cover blurb
  • work on our career plan (what do we want?)
  • decide on what we want our brand to be
  • work on building our platform (website, blog, social media, etc.)
  • come up with an author tagline
  • work on our business plan
  • plan our upcoming releases (can we do a series?, etc.)
  • network with other writers (join writing forums, etc.)
  • attend writing workshops or conferences
  • catch up on reading blog posts or email
  • beta read for others
  • vent to our friends about having to wait
  • write a blog post (I was not successful with this method yesterday)
  • goof off on social media *smile*

That last item really helped me yesterday, as seeing all the thoughts and prayers for my brother and his family kept me distracted during the wait for updates. My brother had gotten a kick out of hearing where everyone rooting for him was from, so I spent much of the day plotting the locations (of those I knew) of the comments here on my blog, on Twitter, and on Facebook.

As of last night, I’d counted over 100 Likes, Favorites, Retweets, and comments from those where I didn’t know their location. In addition to that, I pinned the comments and locations for 150 more on a map.

Map of locations for those sending good wishing

That’s darn impressive. Thank you…truly. I’m near speechless and so grateful for all of you. This is why I blog and do social media. Yesterday, you all kept me sane (or nearly so *grin*).

My point is that there are many good and healthy and helpful and productive ways to pass the time when we’re waiting for things outside our control. And sometimes, even the “non-productive” activities can do us a world of good. *smile*

What did I miss from my list of things writers have to wait for? Do you struggle with waiting for news? How do you pass the time? Do you have other suggestions for my list on what we can do with our time while we wait?

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Comments — What do you think?

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amit kumar das
amit kumar das

Jami, I read your blog, one thing I may suggest you that the nightmare you have passed through for the last 24 hrs. may be put together in to your writing which may surprisingly be one of your finest works till date; love and wishes to you,

Kit Dunsmore

Things on my writer waiting list:
Waiting for November so I can participate in NaNoWriMo
Waiting for my NaNoWriMo swag to arrive in the mail
Waiting for research books I’ve ordered to arrive in the mail
Waiting to hear back when I’ve asked a writer I admire a question via FB or Twitter

Yes, I’m “early” in my professional writing career. Looking forward to lots of waiting in the future!

OH, and I think goofing around on social media is nearly as productive as building your platform on social media, because you are still making connections and probably even extending yourself into new places in the process.


What did I miss from my list of things writers have to wait for?

Reaching various milestones for sales. Reaching a point of being able to pay a bill—any bill—from the writing. Receiving that first comment (or for a reply to a comment) on a blog post. Reaching a point at which the writing income could replace the day job income, whether or not the person actually wants to replace the day job.

Though to be fair, not all writers reach those points, but the ones who don’t generally aren’t aiming for it anyway, or they give up too soon.

Do you struggle with waiting for news? How do you pass the time?

I sometimes find myself biting my nails. But I have so many things going on that I can usually distract myself pretty quickly—with work, or a cover design, or writing/reading another story…etc.

Do you have other suggestions for my list on what we can do with our time while we wait?

Write another story. Or read another story, but the more skillets you have over the fire, the less time you’ll spend waiting, because you’ll eventually hit a point when a skillet full of potatoes is done by the time you finish filling another.

Anne R. Allen

So glad to hear the surgery was successful. Best wishes for your brother’s speedy and complete recovery.


Love and prayers for your brother’s recovery, and for your family during this difficult time. I am so glad to see the map of people all over the world sending their good energy to him as well. 🙂

I liked your list…
the first time a person I don’t know mentions my book…
ooohhh – it gave me chills


Rose Gardener
Rose Gardener

Nothing to add to your comprehensive lists, except relax by reading a good book! Just wanted to wish your brother a speedy, and full, recovery.

Renee Regent

I am glad your brother came through so well, and wishing him a speedy recovery. Very clever post, a good use of time, I might add! Only thing I can add to your list is “waiting for inspiration”. But we all know your supposed to keep writing anyway, right? lol

R. A. Meenan

Those are some GREAT suggestions. Sometimes writing the next book just isn’t an option. It’s great to have some alternatives!

I’m also glad to hear your brother’s surgery went well. =D


I’m so glad to hear that your brother is doing okay. I hope you continue to receive good news as he recovers! Yay! 🙂
When I need to distract myself and can’t focus to write, I usually end up doing a LOT of reading. It is one way to lose myself completely, and reading great stories fires up the Muse’s competitive streak when it comes time to light up one of my own stories again. 🙂
Other ways to make the time go by are making music playlists, watching movies, taking long walks, and even cooking. Something about chopping, measuring, boiling and baking is incredibly comforting to me.

Deborah Makarios

Reading a good book (or several) is definitely a good way to pass the time – any time, waiting or not 🙂
I also like doing old-fashioned gluepot scrapbooking of images that convey the tone I’m going for – otherwise I tend to wobble.
And here’s another prayer going up from New Zealand for your brother’s full recovery – and a bit of rest and relaxation for you!

Gloria Oliver

Awesome news about the surgery. Hope recovery continues in awesome leaps and bounds! Woot!


[…] Writing Struggles: Waiting For News from Jami Gold. I’ve always said the biggest skill one has to have for writing is patience. But sometimes it is so very,very hard to wait! […]

Tracy Campbell

Hi Jami,
So happy to hear your brother’s surgery was a success!
And thank you for providing a list of things to do while waiting.
Very practical advice.


[…] as I try to be there for you with my posts each week, you all were there for me this year with my brother’s brain surgery. (Tangent update: He still has some paralysis, but he’s slowly recovering.) I plotted all of […]


[…] had several people ask for an update on my brother. If you weren’t around last October, my brother had brain surgery to remove a tumor. His biggest challenges post-surgery were balance issues and facial paralysis […]


[…] from leisurely writing as we feel like it to stressed under an impossible deadline. We might be in waiting mode after we query or submit, or we might be trying to do All. The. Things. before a release […]

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