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While you were waiting...

In the military, there is an old adage that goes, "Hurry up and wait." It doesn't make a lot of sense, but then again, I tend to be impatient. It did, however, teach me to utilize my time while I am waiting, and perhaps a bit of patience as well.

As a active writer, you spend a lot of time waiting. Waiting on responses from journals to whom you've submitted. Waiting on publishers to make decisions. Waiting on editors to finish their work. Waiting, waiting, waiting. It might sound like a misnomer, but if you are an active writer, you will always be waiting on something.

It's all part of the life I've chosen. The key is what you do while you wait. This year I haven't submitted to many journals, seeking to instead release another collection in the same vein as Southern Gothic, but I have still been waiting. Waiting on publishers, events to come around, beta readers, contests, and fall. Fall is my time.

The trick is to temper expectations and to stay busy. I usually edit some of my past works, again. I write new stuff. I look for opportunities. Book appointments. I also play Raid, Shadow Legends on my computer. Maybe too much sometimes.

One thing I have learned is to go after things that are worth the wait. Early in my career I submitted to a couple of journals that weren't very big and didn't pay well, if at all. I'd wait for months, only to get a rejection. Those stung the most because I should never have submitted to them to begin with. I sometimes joke that "I've been rejected by some of the most prestigious journals in the world." I say it in jest, but it sums up the point rather well. Why not shoot for the stars? Why not set your sights high? The most they can say is "No." At least if you do get a rejection from a top tier journal, you know it was because the competition was better. That spurs me on to make my own writing better. Plus, you never know, they may say "Yes."

-john





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