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While you wait…

May 11, 2011

Waiting is the name of the game in the writing industry. Waiting for a response to submissions or queries. Waiting for a response to revisions. Waiting for feedback from editor/agent/crit partners. Waiting for publication. Waiting for reviews. You get the idea. So, what to do while you wait? The #1 response is: write something else! 

Sage advice, but it’s not always that easy. Maybe you’re not ready to dive into another project just yet. Maybe you are temporarily sapped of creative energy. But you still want to feel productive in a writerly way, no? Here are five things you could be doing to get ahead (along with some helpful links), while you wait for (fingers crossed) good news:

1. Organize your submission process     Every submission and response should be documented…I’ve used Excel, but found that a simple spreadsheet created in Word will do the trick and cause me fewer headaches. Feel free to copy and paste this sample submission chart I created (remember to change the orientation of your Word document to landscape before pasting). Sample Submission Spreadsheet

2. Learn to Tweet     <Groan><Sigh><Eyeroll> I know, I know. But guess what? It’s easy. It’s fun. It helps you feel connected (you can follow writing buddies, agents, editors, publishing houses, etc.). Find a few super-duper- helpful links to get you started here,  here and here. Have fun, but remember…once you put it out there, it’s out there. As in, no editing or deleting if you have second thoughts.

3. Start a blog     I did it. You can do it. I chose WordPress, and I’ve been quite happy with it. I still have plenty to learn, but getting started was easier than I thought and I love the multitude of themes I had to choose from. While I don’t have a ton of time to devote to blogging, if even a handful of people have been entertained or found something helpful here (and I hope that’s the case)…or if an agent or editor googles me to see if I have begun to establish an online presence yet… mission accomplished.

4. Research     Stay up to date on the latest industry news, publishing trends, agent/editor preferences, etc. Here are a few great links for those who write for children/young adults:  Agent Interviews,   oodles of info/articles on writing for children,   excellent blog of a children’s book editor,  and   successful agent query letters (along w/feedback from the agents landed with them). 

5. Read     Dive in to your to-be-read pile. Focus on books in the genre(s) that you write. Learn more about what you think works and what doesn’t, and the type of writer you aspire to be. Tried and true classics are great, but be sure to check out recently published titles as well. Not sure where to start? Here’s a current list of notable children’s books, compiled by the ALA. Don’t let that limit you, though…go straight to the source, if you can.  If you have school-age children, or have friends/relatives with children, ask them what kids their age are reading. Then read it.

Happy Waiting and good luck!

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From → On Writing

One Comment
  1. Great tips, Jessica. The waiting is the hardest part for me. I make a lot of to-do lists while I’m waiting. It helps me to feel like I’ve accomplished something during waiting time—especially when the waiting ends with bad news 😦

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