Thursday, September 26, 2013

Seasons of Waiting

Photo courtesy of Michael Elliott

We writers wait a lot.

I expect for most of us the production process of drafting a manuscript is an active one, however, there will be times we will be waiting for feedback from others before we proceed to the next stage.

When we’ve completed the manuscript we can expect to wait a lot. Critique groups, editors, agents, publishers all keep us waiting.

Finally a day may arrive when we have an illusive contract for that manuscript we have given so much of our heart and time to. After celebrating with our loved ones and those who’ve supported us through the journey, the publishing process commences. It takes time, typically 12 to 18 months after contract signing. There’s more editing, a cover design to create, even more edits, printing and distributing. So we wait some more.

Launch day arrives. We’re actively promoting our new baby in all manner of ways. Then we wait. For those first sales and then the first reviews.

I’ve laboured the point. But what do we do through the waiting?

Especially when none of what we wait for is a given? Will our proposal be accepted, will our editor like our work, will we make any sales and heck, what will readers think of it?

But didn’t God birth this desire in our heart?

Biblical lessons

It’s interesting how much of the Bible involves people waiting. Waiting for God to do what He said He would. Why did Moses spend 40 years herding goats in the wilderness, and Abraham 25 years before the son God promised him was born? Paul spent years in caves being transformed by the Holy Spirit before his ministry to the Gentiles commenced.

“How long, O Lord, how long?” (Psalm 6:3b)

I can’t recall how many times I’ve beseeched the Lord along similar lines through this writing life.

Why is waiting beneficial?

I’ve been studying the psalms recently and one commentator stated the authors of the Psalms, including David, wrote them in periods of waiting. Most of David’s were written when he was in exile, a fugitive on the run from King Saul, before he could step into his God-anointed role as King.

Are you in one of those frustrating seasons of waiting? Or for something else? I’d encourage you to take solace in the psalms. Waiting isn’t necessarily passive:

“It involves longing, anticipating, yearning. It is seeking. It is, in other words, the exercising of one’s desire for God.”1

I like this quote from Jeff Goins, who recently released a book that is all about waiting: The In-Between- Embracing the Tension between the Now and the Next Big Thing.

"Moments of breakthrough are not where life’s greatest transformation happens; the stuff that God uses to shape us often lies in the in-between."

Paul's heart was shaped in the waiting as was David's.

A verse that has taken on greater prominence for me this year is Psalm 37:4-

“Take delight in the Lord,
and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

Life doesn't usually stop or even slow down when we're waiting as writers. However, next time you're in a season of waiting, pause to take some time to reflect, to press in even more to the Lord, meditate on His Word and be especially grateful for all His blessings.

Who knows we might even come to enjoy the wait?

Note: 1. “Deeper Places, Experiencing God in the Psalms, Matthew Jacoby (Baker Books 2013) page 95.

Ian Acheson is an author and strategy consultant based in Northern Sydney. Ian's first novel, Angelguard, was released recently in US, UK, Canada and Australia. You can find more about Angelguard at Ian's website, on his author Facebook page and Twitter


  1. Such an important concept to come to grips with, Ian--thanks for the reminder that waiting can be such an important part of our journey. I love that Jeff Goins phrase 'Embracing the tension between now and the next big thing'! Another term I often think about is 'active waiting'--listening to God, learning from him and getting on with another project while we wait.

    1. Active waiting. Yes, Jo-Anne. So important to do by leaning into God even more.

      Thanks for your encouragement.

  2. Beautifully written and a much-needed reminder that they also serve who only stand and wait.

  3. Excellent post, Ian. Yes, SO many waits...did you mention the wait when the proposals go OUT? That can take over a year...I've lived that one. I am just getting to the point where I see how God has used all these author waits for build friendships and support online, to push me to self-publish, and many other things. I can't say I've been the best at learning patience, but I have been so broken I realize God is the ONLY one who can help.

    1. Hi Heather, lovely to have you pop over to our little community.

      A year to hear back on your proposal? Wow. I'm looking forward to reading about the learnings you've received through the self-pub process.

  4. Enjoyed your post, Ian. Such good encouragement any where on the writing journey.

  5. Thanks Cherie. Hope your week's gone well.

  6. Ian, great post! I started writing 15 years, and I'll finally see my dream come to fruition with 4 books releasing next year and 2 in 2015. In many ways I'm glad it took so long to reach this point because I've loved the journey and the blessings I've received along the way. God's timing is perfect :)

    1. Great perseverance, Narelle. And what a wonderful example of God's faithfulness.