The Waiting Roller Coaster of Emotions

Photo by Kenn W. Kiser,

I love writing. I've always loved writing. But you know what I don't love? Waiting. Waiting sucks. And unfortunately, writing and waiting go hand in hand.
If you've ever finished a manuscript and attempted to get it published, then you know there's a very looong process of writing queries and sending them out to agents which requires a lot of waiting. Waiting for responses from agents, waiting for agents/publishers to read your manuscript, waiting for offers of representation, waiting, waiting, waiting.
Waiting is hard, and it's especially hard when the subject matter is important to you. For me, waiting has been a big struggle lately. Currently I'm in the process of being considered for publication by a publishing house I really like, and the wait is killing me.
What if they say no? What if they say yes? Should I try to not think about it? Am I being ridiculous?
These are just a few of the thoughts that have popped into my head over the past couple weeks. Often when I find myself waiting for inspiration or a response from an agent or publisher, I go on what I like to call "the waiting rollercoaster."
Take my current situation, for example. When the editor at the publishing house first asked to see my full manuscript, I sent it in right away, and then I had to wait. First, I was numb; I couldn't believe a real editor was going to consider my book for publication. For the first few hours, it seriously didn't seem real.
Then the doubt set in, and I mean doubt of all kinds. Is this publisher actually a good fit for me? Am I meant to work with them? They probably won't sign me. I doubt they'll like it. I probably didn't edit the book well enough and they won't sign me because of that. Maybe I'm not meant to be a writer...
Then I was back to numb again! In fact, my first week of waiting was a mixture of me going back and forth between being numb, excited, and scared to death. At the time waiting for weeks seemed absolutely impossible.
Now it's been nearly four weeks since I received a confirmation e-mail telling me they had received my manuscript and would be getting back to me in a few weeks. Am I still freaking out? Of course, and I probably will be until I know whether or not my dreams are about to come true, or if I need to go back and tweak my manuscript. But that's okay. When it comes to waiting, pushing away the mix of excitement and uncertainty is basically impossible, which is why I believe it's much better to just accept it.
Instead of letting myself spiral into an emotional breakdown over the stress that this waiting rollercoaster brings, I turn my attention elsewhere.
I draft a blog post. I edit a different manuscript. I begin plotting out the ideas for another story. Basically anything that will take my mind off of waiting but also makes me feel accomplished and productive.
I also pray about this a lot. I pray for the people reading my manuscript right now, and the publishing house in general. I ask God to take my stress away and help me focus on other things instead.
Since I started devoting my waiting time to other productive things, my anxiety and uncertainty over this potential publication has gone way down.
Waiting is a struggle, but it's also inevitable. Every writer at some point in life is going to be stuck waiting. And if you're anything like me, maybe you'll get stuck on a waiting rollercoaster of emotions, too. But hey, that's okay! The wait--whether it be for a response from an agent, feedback from a friend, or even inspiration for a story itself--is not going to last forever, and neither will your stress.  And if after all that waiting things still don't turn out the way you planned, don't fret. Just keep breathing, keep writing, and stay positive. Everything will be okay in the end.

"Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you." Psalm 55:22