grace for the finite and infinite wait

{originally posted on The Writer’s Alley}

When I was first working on my brand as a pre-published author, I wanted my tagline to have something to do with the wait-and-see moments of life. Do you know the ones I’m talking about?

When all the pieces of the puzzle are in place except for the last one,
and all you have to offer is a mess of edges that don’t line up.
When you’ve done everything right and given all you have to give,
but it’s in someone else’s hands now.
When the minutes and hours crawl toward
a seemingly elusive square on the calendar.

We’ve all been there. It’s hard, isn’t it? Really hard sometimes. While I went a different direction with my tagline to better represent the whole of my stories, the people who are in the thick of the waiting, they’re my people. The ones who are always on my heart.

In the publishing world, there are different kinds of waiting. There’s the long, open-ended silence after pressing Send that has no finite end. Even months later, you’re still keeping one eye trained on your inbox and regularly checking your junk folders just in case.

Or, there’s a giant date looming over your head. Pending contest results or a deadline or a big conference that could decide the future of your book. In some ways, knowing can be worse. I may or may not be that girl whose phone experiences multiple phantom buzzes on the day contest results are coming in. Who turns Mean Writer Bear when I believe a call was from a contest coordinator and not from my mom asking for a recipe.

But writing has taught me the beauty of the wait-and-see. That peace can be found even in a blank white holding cell before the decision is made.

When the answer was no, in those first seconds of shock and disconnect, I found myself craving just one moment of that blissful unawareness — the same naivete I’d been wishing away minutes before. And when the answer was yes, I couldn’t help but stop and revel in that contrast between before and after everything changed.

I know it’s hard, being where you are. But try not to take your waiting for granted, dearling. Prepare yourself as much as you can so you won’t be caught off guard, but don’t let exhaustion and resignation steal your joy.

I hope waiting helps you never forget where you’ve been. And that you always remember that waiting is part of your story, so nothing is stopping you from writing it.

When you find yourself in the blank white holding cell of waiting, put some paint on the walls and decorate!

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