As an unpublished author I’ve noticed a very distinct pattern of reoccurring events.

First, I get all excited about an idea. Then, I spend countless hours burning up the keyboard trying to get it all down before the inspiration evaporates. This part of the process usually involves waking in the middle of the night and reaching for a pen, or worse, the inability to actually fall asleep because the words just won’t stop. Not to mention the inability to accomplish anything because I have to keep running back to the computer. Consequently, I am late for almost everything.

Second, the editing, revising, rethinking, editing, revising, rethinking, editing . . . I think you can see where I’m going with number two.

Third, the all important thumbs-up from a friend, family member, or my personal favorite, the unsuspecting employee who can’t possibly refuse and/or say anything negative.

Fourth is the submission to a publisher, agent or contest.

And then comes what Dr Seuss calls, “a most useless place: The Waiting Place.”

Waiting for a yes or no, or for the phone to ring,

or for the mailman to show, or the email to ding

waiting while my heart dashes

waiting while each day passes

waiting for the time to come when someone says,

“Good work, you’ve won!”

I’m just waiting, worrying that my submission has gone missing, lost in a stack while the editor went fishing

or worn as a hat, or fallen to the floor,

or kicked under the door and into a grate

or smoked in a pipe, or used as a plate

or eaten by a pet, or sitting in a queue

or even swallowed by the internet?

I’m just waiting.

The worst part about waiting is that my hopes grow and then somehow diminish at the same time. By the time I finally hear back from the receiving party my nerves are such an anxious jumble of repressed emotion that I don’t know whether I should plan a celebration or pull my hair out. Sigh. The process is exhausting. Every time I get a no I say that I am going to stop writing but then a well-meaning friend (usually another writer) will always talk me down, saying that I can’t give up. Why? Because they truly believe I’m good. Or, maybe it’s as simple as misery loving company.

Either way, I think Tom Petty said it best when he wrote: The Waiting is the Hardest Part.