The fine art of coping with indifference
December 5, 2012 10:09 PM Subscribe
I recently finished writing a novel and want to find an agent to represent it. But wait--my question isn't what you might expect: I don't want advice about finding an agent, publisher, etc. I just want some advice on dealing with the unbearable tension of the submissions process. What can I do to distract myself or otherwise feel like I'm not just sitting around waiting for responses that will likely never come?
posted by saulgoodman to Grab Bag (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
It's been years since I submitted any work for publication on a regular basis and never a major, book-length work. As a creative writing undergrad, I had a lot of early (in hindsight, fairly easy) successes, including placing poems in a couple of national literary journals and a few academic awards, but I've been too busy trying to make a career in music over the intervening years, and now I'm finding it much harder than I expected to deal with the excruciatingly long wait times/ambiguous outcomes that I know from experience are only par for the course when submitting/querying. And I made a couple of early, amateurish missteps when submitting to agents that have badly shaken my confidence. It doesn't help that the conventional wisdom seems to be there's no market left for the kind of novel I wrote anyway (literary fiction, though I like to think it's not the dull kind), and that it's been in the works for ten years already in one form or another.
Since my writerly, psychological coping skills have obviously gotten rusty, I was wondering if any other writers out there on MeFi who are or have recently been in this position have personal tips for managing the emotional toll. I could throw myself into a new writing project but I'm too preoccupied and afraid of shifting my focus away from the one I just finished. Any suggestions for how to cope? Or for healthy escapist strategies? Please hope me, MeFi!