Here’s a wee fact about me: I don’t have any. Patience, that is. And I expect I’m not alone. Chez moi, we’re working on a cure for PDS (Patience Deficiency Syndrome). Multiple steps are involved:
- Resist the urge to bang out a full-blown (or mini-blown) revision the minute your agent sends you an email with suggested changes.
- If (1) fails, which it inevitably will, resist the urge to send your agent the revision two days after he’s finished reading the most recent version. He needs his rest.
- Practice writing paragraphs with one space between sentences instead of two. Trust me, this will take up the better part of a day.
- Do not, I repeat – DO NOT, stalk agents, editors, and publishing houses on the Internet. It’s okay to peek once in a while.
- Plan your book’s gestation period like you would plan a pregnancy: write in the winter, aim for submission when the weather gets warm. That way you can plant little things in the garden and make believe they’re organic versions of your novels that will grow into great big things.
- Apologise in advance to your agent for any insanity your emails to him may manifest in the upcoming days, weeks, months. Consider sending him cookies. Or North Carolina barbecue.
- Tackle that mountain of ________ [ironing, paperwork, bills, sewing, refrigerator science experiments, dead houseplants] that’s been growing over the past several months.
- Create a mantra along the lines of “I will not become a pariah.” Repeat it early and often or wind up being the woman your neighbours eye warily before ducking back into their houses when you walk down the street with the pooch.
- Think hard about picking up that cross-stitch Monopoly board you began last year. You don’t have to work on it, just consider it.
- Write the next book. Hell, write two of them.
If none of these works for you, lie back and read a soothing horror book by Stephen King. Misery is a good choice–no matter how anxiety-ridden your days are awaiting responses to queries, revisions, submissions, etc., at least you can smile and say, “It could be worse. I could be Paul Sheldon.”