When you finish a first draft, you’re supposed to put your manuscript in a drawer and do something else for a week or two. Really? Does anyone actually do this? But it’s true. Writers need to edit with a little distance between drafts. So what do you do with your downtime? That’s the hard part.
Sometimes I’ll begin planning the next book. But usually I’ll stew for a few days and decide that maybe four days is enough distance and get down to my next round of edits. I’m not good at the waiting.
But waiting between rounds of revisions isn’t even the worst part of waiting. After all of the edits, it’s finally time to query. Which involves…more waiting. From days to weeks. I’m back to the dilemma of what to do with all of my free time. Do I go back and tweak the manuscript again? Because once I queried, I suddenly see all the flaws I missed on the first 30 passes.
And then, miraculously an agent asks to see sample chapters, or in my case, a full. After shipping it off, all of those flaws are now magnified 1000 times and my fingers ache from not going in to fix them.
And it begins again. The waiting.
And I wait.
And the waiting is killing me.
If by some chance the agent offers to represent me, then I’m sure there will be edits and I can get back to work. But then the real waiting starts as the agent submits to publishers. And I’m guessing this will be the most difficult waiting of all.
Tom Petty was right. The waiting really is the hardest part.