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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?

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4 thoughts on “Hurry Up and Wait

  • August 3, 2009 at 6:59 pm
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    >I read today that before you are published you should spend 90% of your time in writing or improving your writing, and 10% of preparing for the next leg of the journey (such as creating an audience through blogging). That made sense to me. I can get the link for that if you want it. (I linked here from a blog you are following – can't remember the author's name).

  • August 3, 2009 at 11:05 pm
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    >Hi, Candee! It's nice to meet you!

    This is a great post! You're so right. Waiting isn't passive at all. It's active anticipation and consistent preparation. Thanks so much for the reminder!

  • August 4, 2009 at 11:22 am
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    >Warren and Kristen – Thanks so much for stopping by.

    Warren, I think that quote originally came from Rachelle Gardner's blog. I've got it on a Post-it on my desk to help keep my priorities in order.

    And, while waiting for doors to open, I've got plenty to do with that 90% of my time.

  • August 4, 2009 at 7:53 pm
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    >Candee, thanks for the helpful comment on Family Fountain today!

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