Waiting

Growing up, I was never one of those students who was like, “oh man, I totally failed this test,” then got my paper back with a bright red A+ 100%!!! Those people made me mad. I always knew how I did.

I kind of feel like a high school student again, eagerly awaiting my test score, except this time around, I honestly have no idea how I did. It’s been three months since I submitted my first picture book manuscript out to my dream publisher, and still no word. The submission guidelines say it takes up to six months to hear back, and that’s only if they’re interested. So I’m halfway through that waiting game, if not longer.

The winners for the flash fiction contest I entered will also be announced soon, and while I’m not holding my breath, I’m SO CURIOUS to see who the judges picked and how it compared to what I submitted.

This is torture, not knowing. This is putting wrapped presents in front of a greedy child and saying they can’t open them until Christmas NIGHT. I just need a hint. A “you’re on the right track,” “I like this, let me talk with an editor,” or “this is rough, you have a lot of work to do before submitting something else.” After much deliberation, I finally printed off the first 3000 words of my novel and let a friend/mentor/personal Tim Gunn read what I had. It helped so much, having some constructive feedback, just like being in school again.

Through this early process of writing again, I’m finding that I need a lot of pushing and guidance, I work best with groups, and that I’m terrible at the waiting game. I feel like a student, except without teachers, assignments, a classroom, or cool backpack. I’ve decided, it’s time I join a writing group (or create one). If you read this and are interested, please let me know! In the meantime, I’m just thankful for my friends who have helped read what I have so far and offer feedback.

Maybe soon I’ll post some creative writing on the blog…woah, that’s just crazy talk. But, when in Rome, I guess. If I’m channeling my inner high schooler (or younger), I guess I need to embrace the crazy talk.

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10 thoughts on “Waiting

  1. jenpelto says:

    I love reading your posts, Nicole, and as a fellow writer (can I call myself that with a straight face? — probably not) I totally understand the anxiety in waiting and having people read your work. It’s terrifying, really!

    I can’t wait until you post more creative work on your blog! I really appreciated my writer workshops at my university. It made me really anxious at first, to have people literally go around a room and offer me criticism, but at the end of the day, I’m a better writer because of it. I even appreciated the straight-C students taking these courses for gen. ed. requirements who looked at me and said, “Huh? I don’t get it!” because these could be future readers of mine, and it’s valuable to know where and when they are getting lost in the places that made sense to ME (which doesn’t matter, right? I’m not writing for myself!)

    Good luck on your manuscript, and try again if it’s rejected! Also, look up the rejection slips for those editors online before you get discouraged (IF you get rejected!) because you may get a higher tier rejection, which is actually a big compliment. Also note if they invite you to submit again. Publishers typically don’t go out of their way to be nice just to be nice.

    That’s good that you are in a writing competition! It’s a good idea to keep engaged with like-minded souls. Although I feel like a fraud sometimes because I’m just some mom wearing yoga pants with 2-day old ketchup on it sitting at my computer that’s running REALLY SLOW. But whatevs. JK Rowling! Right?! Who needs an MFA or a saner life to write without stopping for diaper changes mid-sentence or attending to the screeches of “WIPE MY BUTTTT!”?

    It’s not the NYCmidnight one is it?! I will hear results back on the 8th. Waiting…waiting…ughh.

    If you ever want me to be a reader for you, I’m a very kind reader and while I won’t pretend to be brilliant, it could be helpful and I love reading for people. I work as a writing coach on campus. And in my free time. (I’m a really big nerd.)

    P.S. I’d love to be in your writing group!

    • Nicole says:

      Thanks for the words of encouragement, Jen! I really wish we were closer. But I may be e-mailing you a short story I just wrote…but yes, I will start a writing group! I don’t know what that entails, but I’ll do it! You’re my first member. Congrats! ha.

      The competition was just one I found online, nothing major. I was too intimidated by the NYCmidnight one, but maybe next year!

      Also, that’s so funny that you wrote “I’m not writing for myself,” because in an earlier draft of this post, I wrote the same thing and then deleted it. Not sure why. But really, part of the joy in writing is coming from pleasing your audience. I don’t really care that much about pleasing myself. I need an audience.

      And at least your kiddos ask to be wiped…I find out they need it the hard way…

      :)

      • jenpelto says:

        I wished we lived closer, too. What gives!?

        How did the competition go? Is it still going on? Kudos to you for sticking your neck out there.

        If all else fails, there is nearly unlimited earning potential in writing Bigfoot erotica, particularly if you are a stay-at-home mom (or so I hear.)

      • Nicole says:

        They still haven’t announced a winner! And the deadline for the next round is in a couple weeks. Oh my gosh, I just heard about the Bigfoot and Dinosaur erotica. What!? Weird.

        We need a writer’s retreat. What’s a good halfway point? Chicago?

  2. Michelle says:

    I didn’t know you were blogging!? When did this start? Forever ago and I’m just now getting word? Ah well.

    It sounds awesome that you have things that your submitting!! I hope you hear something soon.

    I would love to join a writing group. I love writing! I have a friend who writes novels too, I should ask her. <3

    We REALLY should get together soon. Seriously.

    • Nicole says:

      Haha, yes, I’ve been blogging since 2003, but I had a hiatus and deleted YEARS worth of blog posts. I kind of regret doing that now…started this back up in 2011. I’m really shy about sharing my writing, so I’m forcing myself to start spreading the news about it a bit more these days. Eek.

      Yes! Let’s get together. Are you on break next week? We should go get a coffee or something!

  3. Strange Girls, Inc. says:

    Wait. You have 3000 words to your novel?! I no longer sympathize with you! We are not even in the same room, failure-wise. I have the starts of many novels but am lucky if I get 500 words.
    Seriously, though, would love to read yours sometime. We should start a writing group in town.

    • Nicole says:

      3000 words is practically nothing! It’s like, one chapter. I need a lot of help. I’ve talked to a few other gals doing a local writer’s group, I think we should do it. I’m going to spearhead this pronto! Be on the lookout, SGF. We’re gonna be the next NYC with all us brainy types.

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