Thursday, May 07, 2015

The Joy of Waiting

Since there aren't any new submissions for the "Song of Lyric" contest to post today, I decided to pull up something I wrote TEN YEARS AGO (whew!!!) about the writing life. I think perhaps at that time, I was waiting for news about whether a publisher wanted "The Restorer."

The Joy of Waiting

Last week, I began composing a list of the good things about being a writer. Since I tend to get cranky and melancholy, I figured I needed a reminder of what I should be grateful for.

1. I can work in my pajamas
2. I can take a notebook and pen for a hike in the woods and work in beautiful settings
3. I sometimes get free books to review or endorse
4. I've met the best, most amazing people
5. I get to practice waiting.

Okay, that last one wasn't on my list. Being a writer involves a tortuous amount of waiting. Nail-biting while waiting for an agent’s opinion on my latest idea. Pacing while hoping for news from my editor on whether my manuscript has potential. Checking emails obsessively to see what my critique partners thought of a recent chapter.

Last week, I read a chapter in Marlene Bagnull’s wonderful book, Write His Answer. She wrote about waiting expectantly, productively, and patiently.

My vivid imagination jumps to worst-case scenarios when I’m waiting. “The publisher will finally catch on that I don’t know what I’m doing and reject my new proposal. The editors are sitting around laughing at my clumsy prose.”

So, in an effort to wait expectantly, I worked on expecting God’s good surprises . . . whatever shape they might take. Once when the phone rang, I even thought, “That could be my agent calling with a contract offer.” Amazing how much more fun my writing became when I shushed the negative assumptions.

Waiting productively isn’t difficult for me. As a recovering workaholic, I comfort my anxiety by working. So I kept writing during my weeks of waiting for news on a new project. And I also asked God to make the time productive in other ways. Strengthening relationships, caring for physical health, studying and improving my skills.

Patiently? Well, that’s another story. I’m the kind of person who is so desperate to see what’s around the next corner I barely notice the street I’m on at the moment. But God was providing me a chance to practice. To remind myself that His timing is spot on. To acknowledge that most of life happens BETWEEN desired events, so I better embrace the between times.

One of the joys of being a writer really IS the experience of waiting. Writing chapter after chapter with uncertainty about whether it will be published. Revising manuscripts that might never be read. Trusting that God has called me to this path. Every day is raw and frightening and blazing with potential. And that propels me straight into God’s arms.

And that’s another one of the joys of writing.

Sharon Hinck

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