Thursday, May 31, 2007

No News is No News

Every writer out there understands what it's like to wait, and wait, and wait for an answer to a query or a request. It's the nature of the business, and some of us take it better than others. I fluctuate between forcibly ignoring the time when I know the mail is due to arrive to glancing out the window every five minutes.

The old axiom "No news is good news" does not apply to a writer. We obsess over whether our query actually made it to the appropriate party in the first place. Did we have the proper address? Did it get lost in the mail or in cyberspace? We obsess over whether said party is so engulfed with queries that ours is at the bottom of a HUGE pile that may not be seen until the next calendar year. We obsess over whether our SASE was properly stamped, especially when rate hikes hit while our material is still out there. We obsess over whether the SASE was lost or properly addressed. Yes, I have been known to print out an envelope addressed to me with the incorrect address. Luckily, I caught it before sending it out, but I bet sometimes things like that get missed.

I have no problem with rejections. Okay, they aren't my favorite pieces of mail, but at least I know the outcome and can tick that agent or editor off my list. When I don't get a response within the stated guidelines of the entity's website, I don't panic. With the busyness of agents and editors I rarely receive a response within the time they claim. And that's okay. I accept that and don't begrudge them the time they need. When it stretches into twice the time, I get nervous. Usually by then I've zapped an email asking if my query arrived. Most have responded in a timely manner to that. Not necessarily in a "send me your full manuscript" or "we want you" manner, but a response nonetheless.

I've learned a lot about patience since starting this writing thing. Oh, I don't claim to have it, but I've learned a lot about it. I've decided it's a bit like being pregnant. Lots of anticipation and excitement, lots of anxiety over the arrival. But when you're pregnant, you know that in roughly 40 weeks you'll have something to show for your efforts. While waiting for a response to a query, you could have become pregnant, had the baby and watched it take its first steps until the mailman coughs up your SASE.

Also, while you're pregnant you are urged not to drink. While waiting for a response you are essentially expected to drink.

In the wise words of Miss Snark, I will quit obsessing and write well.

Okay, so I'll write well, anyway.



At 3:43 AM, Blogger Sharron said...

Drinking is definitly needed when waiting for a response. Waiting is so much easier/less annoying when the edges of life are just a tad blurred.


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