I've been blessed to spend years waiting. Most days I don't think of it as a blessing. In fact, very few days do I thank the Lord for my wait. Usually it just sits inside my heart like a jagged piece of crystal, weighing, poking, hurting. But even in my baby-ish emotions (I want it now, waaah!), I comprehend the upside to waiting.
1. I'm a better writer.
My writing has become more complex with all the practice I've gotten over the years. I instinctively understand things that I had to piece together when I started submitting. By no means would I consider myself a master, but it's good for the soul to truly know you've improved.
2. The publishing industry is not a big mystery as it once was.
I've been following publishing news for several years. Blogs, magazines, conferences, agents, editors, and other writers--all have informed me. Knowledge throws reality on expectations. It's good to know what you're getting into. Sure, getting published is a dream come true, but it doesn't make all your dreams come true.
3. Humble confidence
I can't speak for all newer writers, but it's easy to buy into your own hype. An editor requested your first novel? It must mean you're a genius! This is your destiny!
Long waits pave the way for rejections. Rejections fill you with humility. Humility brings you back to the drawing board and forces you to admit your weaknesses. Then you address those weaknesses by studying, trying to overcome them in your next book, finding critique partners to help point out ways you can improve. And when you repeat this, you gain confidence in your writing. But it isn't puffed up, prideful confidence. It's humble. And it's real.
4. You understand how much you want it.
Ask any writer how badly they want to see their work in print, and you'll be reduced to tears at the sincerity oozing from them. We ALL want it. But time has a way of weeding out those willing to sit in a state of failure for years on end because they believe in their dream. They want it on a level many writers claim but few put in practice.
Let me ask you this. If someone told you it would take exactly two years, three months, and five days from the day you first submitted to an editor until the day you were offered a contract, would the time seem reasonable? What if the prediction was five years, eleven months, and twenty days? How about eight years, three months, and one day?
What if you wrote steadily throughout those years? What if you wrote fifteen novels? Twenty? And what if you still didn't have a contract?
Would you give up? Decide you don't have what it takes? Assume every published writer has talent but you don't?
No one knows how long it will take to get published. Might be your first book. Might be your twenty-second.
But I can tell you one thing. The longer your wait, the more you realize how much you want it. You take nothing for granted. Nothing. Every tiny crumb that comes your way becomes a three-layer cake. Small beginnings? Brilliant. Jesus himself fed five thousand people with a few fish and a couple loaves of bread.
Whether you've just begun your wait or have slogged through years of it, remember there is an upside. And on the days you can't find an upside, know you aren't alone. Most writers are waiting.
Do you see an upside in waiting?
Have a terrific day!