If a journey implies forward progress, why do I spend so much time waiting for something to happen?
I wish I could travel at a steady pace. Instead, my journey is a series of starts and stops I call “hurry up and wait.” (Although sometimes it feels more like “wait, wait, wait, hurry up.”)
As a parent, I spent hours upon hours enticing my daughter to let go of the table (or box or toy shopping cart) and walk. For almost a year, she cruised around the house. Until, one day, she let go and starting walking. Within two weeks she was running. We spent well over a year agonizing over potty training. Countless hours working on the alphabet and the sounds each letter makes.
Periods of waiting make achieving the goal that much sweeter.
As a writer, times of frantic preparation are followed by months of silence. Write the manuscript, then let it rest before revising and editing. Send out a query letter, then wait for a response. Send out the proposal and sample chapters, then wait again. Submit the full manuscript for consideration, then wait for the various publishing committees to meet. After signing a contract, make the requested edits, then wait for the book to be put in print. Only to start marketing activities.
Periods of waiting don’t have to be idle times. Do I spend the waiting times twiddling my thumbs , pacing the floor, or sitting by the phone? Or, do I continue to prepare myself for the next step in the journey?
When I get the green light, I want to be ready to go.
What about you?