Tom Petty may not have had experience in book publishing, but still . . . HE KNEW.
Publishing moves at its own pace. If you’re on deadline, you might feel like there’s not enough time and OMG where did the day go and HEY LET’S PANIC, but there’s also a lot of waiting around in this business. Maybe an agent requested your manuscript (yay!). Or maybe you’re on sub and editors are reviewing your submission package (double yay!). Whether you’re waiting for betas to check out your newest manuscript or your editor to sign off on your latest revisions, here are a few ideas to distract you from constantly refreshing your email or obsessively checking your phone.
- New project! This is the gold standard for dealing with the delays in publishing. Grab one of those plot bunnies hopping around in your head and get to work. Whether you’re a careful outliner or a true pantster, you’ll worry less about work-in-progress #1 if you’re wrapped up in work-in-progress #2. Plus, you’ll eventually finish and submit #2, and then you’ll have a whole new round of waiting and hoping to deal with–which just means it’s time to start #3!
- Cheer on other writers! Look, you’re already glued to Twitter or Instagram, right? If you’re not already doing so, boost some new releases. Take a sec to congratulate fellow writers on signing with an agent or finishing a manuscript or announcing a deal. That support can mean a lot, especially when so many of us feel like social media is mostly a lot of screaming into the void. You might even make some new writer friends!
- Read! Um, too obvious? Tackle that TBR pile. And when you finish a good book, recommend it on social media or leave a nice review on Goodreads and/or Amazon. I was going to include a list of my own recent reads in this post, but at this point it’s long enough to need a post of its own.
- Hobbies! Have you been wanting to learn to knit? Practice the ukulele? Plant an herb garden? Now’s the time! I rarely have a moment to dig out my embroidery or sewing projects when I’m neck-deep in drafting, so when I’m between projects, I love working on . . . other projects! That aren’t writing!
- DIY/repairs! Okay, minor home renovation projects aren’t always fun, but most of us probably have a few of them floating around in the backs of our minds. I recently redid some of the caulk in my bathroom because that’s the kind of exciting life I lead. But hey, it’s done!
- Try to sell your house! Okay, probably not. But I’m currently living in a house that’s on the market, and it’s providing plenty of distractions. Most of them aren’t good distractions (“Oh, you had plans for today? Nope, there’s a showing this afternoon, so you’re spending the morning cleaning only for the real estate agent to cancel at the last minute, what fun!”), but they’re distracting either way*.
- Dark magic! Oh, you know, just put a hex on whoever sent your most recent rejection, or sign away your soul in return for the promise of a nice publication deal. I’m kidding, I’m kidding! (Or am I? The waiting game can get you to consider all kinds of possibilities…)
- Scream! Try it. It might help. And breathe, and remember that the waiting won’t last forever.