Monday, April 8, 2013

C.O.M.F.O.R.T. Food ...For the LOOOONG Wait
WAITING IS HARD! It's the constant 'not knowing' that gnaws at our core. And sometimes, people just don't know what to do or say for those of us who are hurting...or waiting.

There is nothing inherently wrong with telling someone to “hang in there” or “it will all work out fine” or “your time is coming” or “I’m sure it will be for your best”- Bless your heart :)

But while we’re waiting, whether it be from the delivery of a fourth kid (and I put fourth because there is a DISTINCT difference between waiting for number 1 and number 4), the results of a biopsy, the funeral march, a solder’s return, or an editor’s answer- there is just some advice that’s less appealing than other types :)

As a published-author-wannabe, the waiting game happens A LOT!! Ruth Logan Herne says it doesn't change much AFTER publication, so hopefully this post will encourage the Publishing Spectrum of people out there.

This stir-crazy game of ‘what if’ and ‘maybe’ can dig a hole in our self-confidence like little else. 
For a profession filled with words, sometimes words aren't enough to quell the worry.

Christians have a particular advantage in this waiting game.
No, being a Christian doesn't mean you automatically write better and have more compelling stories (yeah, wouldn't that be a nice fix, right?) – however, it does mean that your perspective is different while you wait. It doesn't mean you don’t still roll your eyes when some well-meaning person puts her arm around you and says, “Well God’s got a plan.” But it DOES mean our minds understand the Sovereignty of God more than our hearts at the present. We know He’s in control. He works all things to our good. He loves us with an everlasting love. All the days planned for your life were set in place before you even lived one of them.

Yeah – totally awesome, right?!?
Our brains GET IT...our hearts might be processing at a slower speed, especially during the LONG wait!

So what are some other ways we can encourage the heart to catch up with the head while we wait?
Well, as a good ol Southern girl, I’m going to turn to what comes naturally.

C.O.M.F.O.R.T.  Food!

When our hearts need a solid tip in a positive direction, here are some things to keep in mind.

C: Chocolate, duh! Or whatever your or your friend's particular comfort food is. When words aren't enough, sometimes the simple act of sharing an important meal or succulent snack communicates TONS more than words.

O: Optimize your strengths - Remember what you are doing well, OR help your friend remember this. Sometimes you or your friend need to be talked off the cliff. Sweet platitudes can be nice, but realistic options  and REMINDERS soothe all the more. 
What are your or your friends strengths? Asking questions like - Haven't you finaled in 2 contests lately? What were some of the comments from those to show you what you are doing well? Your agent said the editor really liked this aspect of your writing, how can you promote this more?

M: Merriment – humor is a necessary comfort of life. Laughing is an internal massage. (And WHO doesn't like a massage) Watch a fun show/movie, visit a friend who 'makes you smile', tickle babies just to hear that FANTASTIC laugh, write a kissing scene...etc

F: Friendship – Knowing you’re not alone in this crazy business makes the path so much lighter. Just BEING there, may take the need for words away be a friend or find a friend. If the friend happens to be a writer too, it's all the more comfort because they understand. Hugs happen without words, and though cyberhugs aren't AS fabulous as the real thing, the knowledge of someone loving you enough to send one makes a BIG difference during the 'waiting' game.

O: Open for Rant – provide an atmosphere that encourages honesty without judgment. It's important for EVERY PERSON to have a 'safe' place to go spill their hearts and know they're loved. Sometimes there is no need for a ‘fix’, just an opportunity to ‘lose it’ with someone who loves you. Provide the opportunity...or TAKE the opportunity. It's an amazingly freeing experience.

R: Right Perspective- provide fear fighters to help turn to right perspective.  The Bible is great for this! Reminding ourselves of WHO WE ARE in Christ, is the biggest fear-fighter out there. If your friend needs a gentle nudge toward 'right thinking', an encouraging verse or vote of confidence in her writing might do the trick. Truth versus lie stuff. Self-doubt plays cruel tricks on our confidence, so having a loving friend build you up and keep your eyes on Christ, can help shift your perspective. REMEMBER - make it sincere. People in the throes of the wait can sniff out false encouragement like a hungry coon dog ;-)
T: Tips to ponder while you wait. KEEP MOVING FORWARD....Practical reminders like:

1.       Are you working on another book so you can be ready when they contact you?

2.       Have you been direct with your agent about what you need from him/her in your relationship?

3.       What ways can you work on building your platform while you wait? (internet? Speaking? Contacts?)

So, do you have any Comfort Food to add to the list? How have people in your life given COMFORT food to you while you've been waiting. The Alley CATS have been my haven - and many of the Seekers have been my encouragement too. What about you? How have you provided COMFORT food to one of your writing friends? :-)


Unknown said...

Awesome stuff, Pepper! My mom has told me many times "Patience isn't just waiting. It's waiting with a good attitude." Your tips are perfect for nurturing that "good attitude" thing both in ourselves and our friends. :)

Angie Dicken said...

Grrrreat! Glad to know that my impatience may have been a bit of inspiration for this post? HA! At least something wonderful came from it! You are an inspiration for the coming week!! Love ya!

Susan Anne Mason said...

Thanks, Pepper! Words we need to hear!

We are all in one stage of waiting or another so this can help everyone!


Jessica R. Patch said...

These are wonderful tips, Pepper. One thing that helps me in the waiting process is helping others. It makes the time more joyful and fun. :)

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

Awesome post, as usual, Pepper! For me I think distraction is key. Now, some are better than others for sure. Having kids who rely on you for everything is plenty distracting ;) But distractions such as mentoring a new writer, diving into your WIP, talking plot and story ideas with writer friends, indulging in the word and prayer. All these things help us to detach from the wait and just simply live through it with our eyes focused on other things. It's like my mama always said "A watched pot never boils." :)

Thanks for the tips, dear!

Carol Moncado said...

I tried to post this morning from my phone but it wouldn't let me :p.

Very timely, Pep. Waiting makes me nauseated. But you knew that.

I'm thinking it's a Chocolate Therapy for lunch kind of day. Because I do already have some in my freezer.

Pepper said...

I really like your mom's advice! Attitude starts with an A for a good reason. It sets the pace for all the other 'letters' behind it ;-)

Pepper said...

Oh Ang,
You are inspiration to a lot of people too! I just love you heaps and heaps!

Pepper said...

Amen...and having encouragers a long the way is VITAL!

Pepper said...

Helping others shifts our attention off of our OWN waiting and gives us something productive to do.

Cindy R. Wilson said...

Great tips! I am all about the chocolate these days, and making sure I'm constantly working on something else so I don't think about the waiting.

Joanne Sher said...

LOVE this post, Pepper. And NEED it. Having that place to vent, and friends who love and UNDERSTAND you, is AMAZING. Thanks, friend!

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Such a great post, Pepper, with such sage advice, peppered with humor. ;)

I would have to say that among the list of comfort foods for me, gummy bears are high on the list. I think the act of chewing helps for some odd reason.

Ashley Clark said...

Pepper, I LOVE this post. What you said about waiting is so true. God has been showing me that the process of waiting is just as important as the next stage because it's the stage where we really draw near to Him and "cultivate" this ground as we prepare for the roots to develop. As for my comfort food, mac and cheese all the way!

Pepper said...

I think you just said "Distractions keep you focused"
From one mom to another...I TOTALLY get that ;-)

Pepper said...

I can't wait to find out what all your waiting (and writing) produces for you...besides nausea ;-)

Pepper said...

Working on something is a great tool to curb the 'wait'. I totally understand that one. It's like 'tricking your brain' :-)

Pepper said...

Amen, Joanne! I think it's the best support God gives us as writers - to have other weird people who 'get it' just because...

Pepper said...

LOL, Sherrinda.
Gummy bears?!? Why does that NOT surprise me.
I will tell you my FAVORITE pairing of items to get if I am in DESPERATE need of some comfort food:
Chic-Fil-A Chocolate Milkshake and large waffle fry.
Oh man...FANTASTIC combo.
I feel better just visualizing them right now :-)

Pepper said...

You and my second-born would get a long just fine.
Mac and cheese is HIS comfort food too.
Do you mean the yummy homemade baked kind? :-)

And yes, waiting is God's way of growing our roots deeper for the big storms and blessings :-)

Anonymous said...

Pepper, I know I'm a day late, but I loved this post. There is so much truth in it! We waited for YEARS for God to give us children, and the platitudes sometimes stung more than the disappointment. :)

One thing I've learned about waiting is to wait actively. When I'm in a season of waiting, I wait and work on other things. This helps me not keep my focus on what I'm waiting for. :)

Waiting with anticipation is harder, but I try to keep my eyes on Jesus in the waiting time, knowing His plans for me are always good, and that they will come about at the right time. :)

Thanks for sharing this!