|Is she waiting for a bus? Or a rejection letter?|
Just as the Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' song says, "The waiting is the hardest part..." waiting is one of the hardest parts of the writing process.
As I write this, I'm anticipating two different responses to the short stories I've submitted. One I expect to receive at the end of June and one I will hear about in mid-July. I never realized how incredibly difficult waiting could be and how it could impact other parts of the writing process.
Have you thought of that before? Your ability to wait as a writer can influence other aspects of your writing. It occurred to me the other day when I was thinking about a short story I've sent out. I realized that I was beginning to accept the rejection before I even received it. I was tempted to submit it elsewhere, figuring likely my short story won't place or be published. Sure, many writers simultaneously submit, which is fine, but to submit because I assume I will be rejected isn't quite the same thing.
Waiting assuming rejection can allow my inner critic to discourage me from writing at all. Here's how it can go:
Me to myself: Eh, I've likely not won that short story contest. Think about how many people probably submitted to it. I should just move on and-
Inner critic [interrupting me]: I mean, yeah, why bother even writing at all? Look at how much competition there is out there. You're not cut out for this.
Me to my inner critic: Well that's not really what I mean -
Inner critic [interrupting me]: But really that's the point you're admitting to yourself isn't it? You're not THAT good of a writer to be published so why bother?
Anyone else battling that type of discussion with their inner critic?
So, I've decided to wait with a new approach. I will not assume rejection before I've received it. Sure, rejection is part of the writing process but so is acceptance too. So today if you are waiting to hear if you've placed in a writing competition or waiting to hear from an agent or waiting to hear results of any kind, wait as positively as you can. Of course, false hope is bad, but don't wait assuming you will hear no. Wait hopefully. Wait realistically. Try not to wait negatively.
Why? Your outlook while you wait can turn into your outlook while you write. Your inner critic can turn around and use your negative waiting to influence your writing process in general. Then suddenly you aren't writing at all.
So today, I wait. I wait as emails trickle in that have nothing to do with those writing competitions. I wait as I nervously check Submittable thinking I missed something. I wait as I write the next short story. Yet, today I'm waiting knowing that I am as likely to be published as the next writer. And you are too.