Downton Abbey and Lessons on Waiting

I’m a little late getting on the Downton Abbey bandwagon; however, after finding the first four seasons on DVD on sale two days ago, I’m completely on board now.

I watched the first two disk (four episodes) with my daughter yesterday before our husbands took over the television to watch the Alabama vs Auburn game. (Roll Tide!!! 🙂 ) There were several things that caught my attention about this series. First, I’ve always been fascinated by anything British, so I love the accents and the history. Second, I love how the storyline not only revolves around the upper class family but also the staff.

My favorite quote thus far into the series actually came about as a result of the staff storyline. Said by Joe Burns (farmer) to Mrs. Hughes (head housekeeper) after asking for her hand in marriage, “I’d rather wait a week for the right answer than get a wrong one in a hurry.”

As a writer who has (as stated in previous posts) spent a lot of time waiting to hear back from editors about one story or the other, this quote seemed to speak to me. Yes, waiting for the right answer, though difficult at times, would be much better than getting the wrong answer quickly. Unfortunately, when dealing with writing and publishing, it’s very rare to get a quick answer, either good or bad. It’s been five weeks since I returned my revised manuscript for consideration. And the wait goes on. . .

Not Sitting Around Twiddling My Thumbs

By my calculations, in the thirty-three months since I first began my journey to publication, all-in-all I’ve spent roughly nineteen months waiting.

Waiting to hear back from contests…was my story good enough to advance to the next round? Waiting to hear back from editors with one of my proposals or full manuscripts on their desk…would I receive a rejection, would I receive a revision request, or (dare I hope) would I receive “the call”? Waiting to hear back from agents I dared to query…would one of them see something in my writing and be willing to sign me even though I’ve never been published?

What’s been the results of all my waiting?

Waiting to hear back from contest has resulted in a request for a proposal and two full manuscripts. Waiting to hear back from editors (after the contests) has resulted in one rejection and two revision request. Waiting to hear back from the agents resulted in me signing with a reputable agency and ending up with an agent who is encouraging and supportive.

Is the waiting over? Not by a long shot! As a matter of fact, I’m waiting right now. Two weeks ago, I resubmitted one of the manuscripts that had received a revision request. And, I suspect, even when I’m finally a published author, there will still be a lot of waiting involved.

So, besides twiddling my thumbs, what can I do while I wait?

Read

My tbr (to be read) pile is exceptionally large at the moment, so any time I get a chance, I’m going to read. Which is exactly what I did yesterday, when I read my friend Cate Nolan‘s wonderfully suspenseful debut novel Christmas in Hiding.

Revise

Remember, I still have another manuscript with a revision (second one on this story) request. This revision request is from the same publishing house as the revised manuscript I just resubmitted for consideration, and even though I’m not allowed to have two stories under consideration at the same time, I need to work through these revisions so the story is ready to resend as soon as I have the okay.

Research

There is always research to be done for the next story. Any opportunity to plot, plan, and research prior to writing should be taken seriously since it can result in a cleaner first draft and ultimately fewer revisions in the long run.

Write a Rough Draft

Once the research is complete, I need to start my next manuscript. If either of the two manuscripts I have completed doesn’t sell, I’ll have another story in the works. Gotta keep moving forward to reach the goal.  And, if one (or Lord willing both) of my manuscripts sells, I’ll still need another story ready to submit. At the moment, the goal may be to sell that first novel, but the ultimate goal is to be multi-published. 🙂