The Hardest Part of Writing a Book: The Waiting

Disclaimer: This may or may not be the hardest part for everyone.

Second disclaimer: I’m so grateful for everyone that agreed to be a beta reader for me and I promise I’m not complaining about having to wait for you to read it. Take your time. Waiting builds character (and characters *wink*).

I’m currently at a point in my writing journey where there happens to be a lot of waiting.


Before I gave my manuscript to Beta readers there was a rush of editing and excitement and hope. As soon as the manuscript was actually in the hands of those Beta’s the waiting began and the hope started to die. That’s a little depressing, sorry. The hope didn’t die. It just started to have a panic attack. And then the what if’s took over. What if they don’t like it? What if it’s terrible? What if I get it back from them and revise it again and again and it still isn’t perfect.

This is what happens when I have to wait. I start to doubt myself and my writing. But I have to get used to it and get over it somehow, because the road to getting a book published is filled with periods of waiting. And I think it’s something that makes every writer crazy. We wait for beta’s, then sometimes we wait for beta’s again after we’ve revised. Then we wait for agents to read our query letters, sometimes we wait for months. And if they read our query letters and ask for more pages, then we have to wait for them to read all those pages. And during all this waiting we’re going a little crazy inside. So how do we avoid this? There’s no way to get around the waiting, that’s inevitable. BUT literary agents and those in the publishing world (and other writers who know all about the waiting craziness) have some advice for the waiters. KEEP WORKING ON SOMETHING.  Work on something else. Something new. Something old. Just keep the creativity flowing.

As I’ve been editing and waiting for Beta reader’s, this advice has been floating around my head like a fruit fly you can’t seem to get rid of. You’re supposed to be working on something else, the little voice in my head says. Except not really because…


Writers write. that’s like the first rule of writer-ism. But I was so caught up in the stress and pressure of revisions that I couldn’t start anything new. I was so nervous about my manuscript and what everyone would think of it and if finding an agent and getting published could be a reality that it was impossible to let everything go and just write. Eventually (a week ago) I had to remind myself that this is my first book. And that I WROTE A BOOK. Which means I can do it again. And I can do it better next time because I worked out a lot of kinks in my first manuscript. I learned what works for me and what doesn’t. The reality is that not every book gets published, most don’t. Even after I revise this book until I can’t revise it any more it might not work. It might not be a book anyone wants to publish. And that’s really scary because I put so much time into writing it. But it’s true. And I finally realized that it’s OK. I will keep editing it. And eventually (hopefully) I will query agents about it. But for now I am taking the wonderful advice of writing and publishing pros and I’m working on something else. And for the first time in a month or so I feel like myself again! I only have a few thousand words but the idea for this new project has been nagging at me for awhile now and I’m so glad that it’s finally coming together on the page. As soon as I started typing it just started flowing and now I can’t stop thinking about it.

So the moral of the story is: waiting isn’t always such a bad thing. By the time that I’ve finished revising my first book and have spent a few months querying agents (whether I find anyone that’s interested or not) I just might have a new book to present. For now though I’m not getting my hopes up and I’m just letting myself write freely without any pressure.

So. The hardest part of writing a book might be the waiting. But if you keep your creative juices flowing it doesn’t have to be. Is that cheesy? Maybe. But it’s true. Working on something else really will keep you from going crazy while you’re waiting. And if whatever you’re waiting on doesn’t end up working out then at least you have another project in the works. And for writers, that’s everything.


Good luck everyone, and happy waiting!


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