A Writer’s Life: The Waiting Room

Today I’d like to invite you to join me someplace most, if not all, writers are familiar with. Where’s that, you ask?

The Waiting Room.

Oh. My. Word. Your groans probably registered on the Richter scale. Stop it right now and come on in. Yeah, the Waiting Room is crowded. And the magazines are out-of-date. But we’re here to talk, not peruse the 2005 issue of Bowhunter magazine

If you’re a writer, the Waiting Room is unavoidable. Truth is, if you stay the course, you’ll make repeated trips to this room where the hands on the clock never seem to move and you languish forever, wondering when someone will call your name and say, “We’ll see you now.”

Aren’t I just the messenger of all things light and breezy today?

Why, you ask, why the Waiting Room? It’s such a waste of time.

Is it really? 

What can you learn while you wait? (Yes, I know you’d rather get seen and get out of here. But stick with me.)

  1.  Understand attitude is key. If I expect to wait then I avoid the “Woe is me” attitude — or at least succumb to fewer attacks of self-pity. If I get into my appointment on time or — gasp! — early, then I celebrate. Translation: No one is an overnight success. If some author tells you that they were, they’re lying. (You can tell them I said so.)
  2. Come prepared to wait. Do I want to waste time thumbing through magazines I’d never read even if I was stranded on a desert island? Translation: What are you doing while you wait for “the call”? Are you counting time or making time count by revising your manuscript, attending conferences, connecting with other writers — maybe even encouraging other writers?
  3. Realize everyone hates waiting. Medical professionals hate being behind schedule as much as you hate waiting. Translation: Editors wait too. And agents. And publishers. (Side note: Please, no comments with “waiting for my doctor” horror stories.  Not the point of this post. If you really need to vent, email me at beth@bethvogt.com. I’m married to a doctor. I can take it.)

Time for me to sit back and see what y’all have to say about time spent in the Waiting Room. Tell me how you handle waiting for feedback from your critique group. Or from your agent. Or for the “sign here and would you like an advance with that?” phone call. How do you make waiting worthwhile?


*Photo credit: That’s me and my daughter. In my husband’s waiting room. With a copy of author Jody Hedlund’s latest release, The Doctor’s Lady. The sleeping pose is for the sake of the column — not a statement on Jody’s writing. I loved reading The Doctor’s Lady!

Post Author: Beth K. Vogt

Beth K. Vogt is a non-fiction author and editor who said she’d never write fiction. She’s the wife of an air force physician (now in solo practice) who said she’d never marry a doctor—or anyone in the military. She’s a mom of four who said she’d never have kids. She’s discovered that God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.” She writes contemporary romance because she believes there’s more to happily ever after than the fairy tales tell us.