Publishing is a slow moving boat. Writing the novel takes a while, but at least you’re in control of that process. Then you…wait for your critiquers. After revisions, you begin submitting to agents and….wait. Agent submits to publishers and you…wait. Publisher likes it but has to take it to acquisition meetings so you…wait. Wait while agent negotiates the contract. Wait for revision notes from the editor. Wait as the long, slow process of producing the book evolves. Wait for reviews, blurbs. Wait for release day.
2. Buy some ice cream for when it’s time to celebrate.
3. Buy some ice cream in case you need consolation.
4. Eat the ice cream while you’re waiting. Heck, you can always buy more.
5. Get on Twitter. You can lose a lot of time that way.
6. Browse peopleofwalmart.com. You won’t care how much time you waste there.
7. Depending on where you are in the process, do a “peripheral” writing task, i.e. work on your own revisions, build your blog following, make a publicity plan, create an Amazon author page, etc.
8. Harass your kids about whatever they’re not doing. They’ll be so glad when you get back to writing!
9. If you’re in the agent query phase, do not wait. Always have something in every stage of the query process.
10. Every time you check your email for a response, do twenty pushups. It won’t speed up the response time, but you’ll look great (and it’ll counteract some of that ice cream)!
11. Read everything you can get your hands on. There will come a point in your career where this is far more difficult.
12. Make a plan for how you’ll celebrate if the news from your waiting time comes back positive.
13. Make a plan for how much money you’ll spend at the mall if the news from your waiting time comes back negative.
14. Clean something. Or if you’re a guy, repair something.
15. Study up on your writing craft. You’re bound to learn something you did wrong which will no doubt make your wait even that much more anxious (anxious = exciting?).
16. Do critique work for another writer. Critiquing improves your own writing.
17. Get lost in a bookstore.
18. Google the agent/editor/publisher/reviewer, etc. Again, it won’t speed up the process but it will make you feel you’re doing something worthwhile.
19. Write something completely unrelated to your project: a poem, a short story, a full length Broadway musical.
20. Do a blog post on what to do while you wait. Because yes, I am…waiting. I hope to have some news soon.