There’s a lot of waiting in this writing life. Waiting for inspiration, waiting for a new story idea, waiting for the words to show up on the page, waiting for contest results, waiting for feedback from critique partners, waiting to hear back from agents and editors, waiting for contracts and edits and book releases. Waiting to open your inbox one day and find THAT email you’ve been hoping for.
Someone asked me this week what I did with all that waiting time. The answer is pretty simple. I live.
Since I’ve started writing I’ve gone from single to married, renter to homeowner, from the person whose Saturdays involved a leisurely brunch and reading the morning paper to having a toddler jumping on the bed and being able to belt out the Thomas the Tank Engine theme song on command. Five jobs. Four house moves. More flights than I can even remember. A nephew and a niece and two more on the way. Grandparents moving into heaven.
I look back at my early years a writer. Unbridled enthusiasm with very little knowledge. Of the craft, of the industry, of anything writing related. I look back at other times when my craft had strengthened and the contest finals were starting to pile up but there were other things in my life that needed a lot of care and attention. Being exhausted as a new mum and barely able to put one foot in front of the other. Then there were the times when everything seemed to be lining up – until they weren’t.
Through all of those years, I wasn’t ready for that elusive contract for different reasons. Some of the time I knew that, sometimes I heard it the hard way via rejection but a lot of the time I thought I was ready but doors remained firmly closed despite my best efforts to force them to open. Through it all, God knew exactly what I needed and when. In the moments when I want to give up, he provides the exact encouragement I need to keep going.
Am I ready now? I don’t know. But He does. He holds in his hand whether I open my inbox to that magical email this year, this decade or not on this side of eternity. And he has never failed me yet.
Is it easy? Never. Obsessively checking emails, climbing the walls when you’re waiting on news and the days drag by, never knowing if all your hard work, time, money and dreaming will ultimately prove not to be. Watching people who started writing after you pass and then lap you as you try to remind yourself that it’s okay, your journey is not theirs. Holding on to that if this is what God has called you to do then he will make it happen and there is no amount of worry or fretting or effort to make things happen on your part that will speed up the process.
And so, in the meantime, I’ll keep on living in the waiting. How about you? How do you cope with times in life spent in the waiting room?