Waiting, Wondering...And Freaking Out. (Just A Little Bit.)

Just before I left for a summer "vacation" with my boys (in quotes because sometimes I feel that when we are on "vacation," the boys have the time of their lives while I exhaust myself playing card games in airports and trying to remember I have a name other than Mommy), I did it.  I took the leap, I made the jump, I broke the seal. After nearly five months of writing without showing anybody a word of my work, I put a proper cover page on my manuscript and composed an email to the people whose opinion means the most to me.  

"What do you think?" I asked.  Then I hit send.

And then I waited.

Within days, I got an email from my mom.  "Oh, sweetie," she wrote.  "I just loved it!!"

Oh mom, I thought.  I love you too.  It was great to get the unconditional love and support I so depend on from her. Not only that, but as a brilliant woman and a sophisticated reader, I value her opinion tremendously.  But come on.  She's my MOM.

And then I waited some more.  I'm still waiting.  And I'm trying not to freak out.  

Have they read it and just don't want to write to me because it's so bad?, I wonder.  (Usually when it takes awhile for someone to respond, of course, they just haven't read it yet, which is impossible to conceive of from the perspective of the author, sweating with anxiety and checking her email every five seconds.)  Am I close with this draft, or will it be back to the drawing board?, I fret.  I know I should be distracting myself by working on other things.  I know I shouldn't let my mind wander as I wait.  (It goes to insecure places.)  But it's hard to truly turn my attentions to something else when I am still so fully and completely immersed in the book I just finished.  I have lived and breathed it for almost two years now, and suddenly there is nothing I can do with my passion/obsession but wait.

It's hard though.  I want to nudge, to prod, to beg.  Please read immediately!  I need to know what you think before I explode!

So I ask you to distract me, dear She Writers.  What do you do when you are waiting for a response to your work?  And do you ever nudge, prod or beg for the feedback you crave?  (Wondering what Emily Post would say about the proper etiquette regarding manuscript response time.)  I hope you write lots of comments.  This waiting is a lonely business, and I've got nothing but time to read them. 

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Comment by Allyson Whipple on August 26, 2013 at 8:52am

I find it helps me quite a bit to only send a manuscript out to one or two trusted readers at a time. I also let the intended reader know a manuscript is coming their way, and ask what their schedule is like right now. Makes it easier for me to not stress if I know it's a busy time for them, and they're doing me a big favor. 

Comment by Kamy Wicoff on August 21, 2013 at 8:23pm

Oh man, this has been SOOOOO helpful as I've continued to wait.  I have drunk, danced, and thought about other things (and @Sheryl, oh man, I did not think about the waiting after it comes out, which must be twice as anguished), and perhaps because of all the love and good advice I got here, I actually heard from my agent yesterday!!  (Two other beta readers told me they had just been too overwhelmed and were still trying to get around to it.)  She is only 60% of the way through, but she was good enough to let me know, and we are going to talk as soon as she's done.  I promise to keep you all posted, and in the meantime, I truly can't thank you enough for sharing your experiences and helping me through mine. :)

Comment by Karen Leigh Goodman on August 21, 2013 at 5:46am
If your book reads anything like your post, I think it's great! God bless!!!
Comment by Sheryl Sorrentino on August 21, 2013 at 3:54am

Try waiting after your book is released. That is beyond awful. LOL. In the meantime, I do not think it is rude to check in and ask your readers when they think they will get around to looking at your MS. Also, let them know that you invite their honest feedback, that they are being given an opportunity to contribute to your work. Good luck!

Comment by Judith Barrow on August 21, 2013 at 2:00am

Firstly, well done for breaking the seal. And I know how frustrating the waiting is. The problem is that family always respond immediately , usually with glowing praise. But it's the others - the ones who might take your work further that are tardy (probably, if we're being honest, because there are so many of us waiting as well) My solution is to get on with other writing - that idea that's lurking, or that I made a note of months ago, or a phrase. word, conversation I read or overheard. I hope this might help. But good luck and fingers crossed for you

Comment by Darcee VanMullekom on August 20, 2013 at 7:45pm
oh my gosh....i feel you. I am in my second round of edits. i.....we all know that feeling of waiting for the reply emails wondering what those first few people thought....Goodluck!
Comment by LuAnn Braley on August 20, 2013 at 5:09pm

Home repairs and remodeling.  We recently purchased the former home of my husband's paternal grandparents, built in 1963 and in desperate need of updating, rewiring, etc etc etc.  It takes my mind off of just about everything.  I hope your folks send you their views soon.  (I hate to wait, too!)

Comment by Lisa Thomson on August 20, 2013 at 4:26pm

That's so exciting. Congratulations. There is no better feeling than having that manuscript all done and in hand. I say as hard as it is, wait it out.  Stay silent.  They will contact you as soon as they're done, I'm sure. Thanks for sharing this Kamy. Let us know...

Comment by Carol Bodensteiner on August 20, 2013 at 4:06pm

I can really relate. I gave my beta readers a month to read. Since I committed not to even open the manuscript document during that time, I occupied my time working on marketing related things, e.g. I drafted the cover blurb, worked on an elevator speech, Googled historical fiction blogs. Then I took walks, drank coffee, DUSTED.  You can tell how desperate I was. The good part of being away from the story for a month was when I did get their feedback (every one of my 14 read it), I was able to look at the writing with fresh eyes. Hang in there Kami! The time does pass.

Comment by Laura J. W. Ryan on August 20, 2013 at 3:21pm
While I'm "waiting" I start something new.

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