So I submitted Terminal Restraint, my fourth novel, to a slew of agents over the course of the past week. Now I'm playing the waiting game. They all say it takes 4-8 weeks or so to get a response, and probably all of them will reject it. I'm not being pessimistic; I just know that my chances are only marginally better than winning the Mega Millions. Of course, I did buy $5 worth of Mega Millions tickets, and when they called the numbers, I chided myself for doing so. But at least it didn't cost me anything to submit my novel, so even though I'm expecting several rejection letters, at least I had fun writing it.
After I sent them out, though, I realized that it was really quite silly to wait. I mean, we spend far too much time waiting for things to happen. We wait for coworkers or clients or vendors to send us reports or proposals. We wait in line at the supermarket. We wait in cars at stop lights. We wait wait wait wait wait. Aren't you sick of waiting?
I guess some waiting is unavoidable. You can't exactly plow down all the cars in front of you at a stop light or mow over all the people in line at the supermarket. What you CAN do, though, is go to the supermarket at perhaps a different time when it is less busy. Or take that leap and use the self-checkout lines that are available in most major supermarkets. I find it amusing when I see someone with four or five items waiting in line because they are afraid to use those things. Everyone has touch-screens anymore. Why wait?
We are not dogs. We shouldn't have to just sit when our master says so. I mean, yes, abide by all of your local, state, and federal laws, but don't sit on the couch waiting for something good to happen and complaining about how much your life sucks because you are poor or fat or ugly or lonely or whatever flaw it is you think you have. Stop wasting your life away waiting and get up and do something about it!
Don't wait for your wife to cook supper. Cook it with her! Don't wait for your kids to get better grades in school. Help them out! Don't wait for the economic recovery and a Republican president to come along and give you a raise and lower your taxes. If you're struggling, do something with yourself that's fun, rewarding, and puts a little extra money in your wallet. Try your hand at being a package handler for UPS or FedEx--you'll lose that fat belly and earn a paycheck at the same time. Take a part-time job as a pizza delivery driver. They make good tips! Don’t want to because you are too tired? Go run a half-marathon—or even a 5k if you are a couch potato—then you’ll know what it’s like to be tired.
Just don't sit around and wait unless you absolutely have to. You only have one life to live. Why spend it waiting?
As for me, I'm already three chapters into my fifth novel. And when I finish that one and begin submitting it to agents, I'll then be three chapters deep into my sixth. I won't sit around waiting. Waiting for 5 o'clock. Waiting for the weekend. Waiting as time passes me by. I’ve done way too much of that already.