Monday, January 18, 2016

C.O.M.F.O.R.T. While We're Waiting


Waiting....
Sigh.
Sometimes it's okay and sometimes...it gets very long. Sooooo long. And what can we possible do to, not only find our own comfort, but comfort others during the 'wait'.

Phrases like 'hang in there', 'this all happens for a reason', 'your time will come' or 'bless your heart' are not bad in and of themselves, but if you've been waiting a long time...well....they can grate on your nerves a little.  
Whether the waiting is from the delivery of your fourth kid (and I put fourth because there is a DISTINCT difference between the waiting for number 1 and number 4), the results of a biopsy, the funeral march, a soldier’s return, or an editor’s answer- there is just some advice that’s less appealing than other types J

And sometimes all you need is something words can't provide.

On both sides of publication, the waiting game happens A LOT!! But especially when we're on the unpublished side of writing, the days, weeks, and years of 'waiting' stretch into a seamless line of doubts and fears. This stir-crazy game of ‘what if’ and ‘maybe’ can dig a hole in our self-confidence like little else. Sometimes all we want is an ear to hear our rant, a shoulder to cry on, a loving hand providing chocolate, or an all-expense paid vacation.

Since the latter is less likely to occur, one of the first three will have to do J

Even now, on the published side of the bridge, the waiting and doubt continues. Will there be another contract? Do I have the ability, wisdom, courage, and funds to Indie publish? Will this dream putter to a stop after this last book in the series?

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 – 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.

But what are some other things we can remember while we wait? Other ways we can crawl down in the fetal position with our friend who has had 2 novels on submission for 3 months (or a year) without an answer yet?

Well, as a good ol Southern girl, I’m going to turn to what comes naturally.

C.O.M.F.O.R.T.  Food!

C: Chocolate, duh! Or that person’s comfort food. Whatever it might be. In the south when we bring food, we're also bringing support, encouragement...we just happen to bring it with sugar on top :-) Nothing makes company better than a little sugar on top. So figure out a way to provide what that person NEEDS...or maybe just wants - and it doesn't necessarily have to be words.

O: Options- Provide practical options while they wait. Could they begin edits? Read a favorite author for inspiration? Or perhaps you could encourage another book they're working on because you already know the market is open to that particular storyline or genre?
M: Merriment – humor is a necessary comfort of life. Laughing is an internal massage. AND it's like medicine over a wounded spirit. Is there a way you could plan something fun with your friend? Or maybe a phone call to provide some much needed laughter?

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 altogether. I know, for me, that just feeling the love of my friends helps me keep stepping forward even if I'm not sure which way I'm supposed to go. They're with me, encouraging me along the way. That's a beautiful and God-given gift.

O: Open for Rant – provide an atmosphere that encourages honesty without judgment. Sometimes there is no need for a ‘fix’, just an opportunity to ‘lose it’ with someone who loves you.

R: Right Perspective- provide fear fighters to help turn to right perspective.  When your friend is ready, an encouraging verse or vote of confidence in her writing might be what she needs. When we're discouraged, we have a tendency to see through a veil of desperation or sadness. Loving truth helps us gain the proper perspective.

T: Tips to ponder while they wait. 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?)
4.   Do you feel this time may be an opportunity for you to develop another creative interest you have?
5.  What are some other options that you might have been afraid to explore before? (Indie publishing? Mainstream vs CBA?
 
Writing a book make take one person plugging away on a keyboard every day, but building a story takes a community of writers, friends, and encouragers.
Comfort food just makes it go down sweeter!
What brings you comfort while you wait?
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     Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance peppered with grace and humor. She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC where she is the mom of 5 great kids, speech-pathologist to about fifty more, lover of chocolate, jazz, and Jesus, and proud AlleyCat over at a group writing blog, The Writer’s Alley. Her debut historical romance novel, The Thorn Bearer, released in May 2015, with the second arriving in February 2016. Her first contemporary romance debuts in April 2016. You can connect with Pepper on her website at www.pepperdbasham.com, Facebook-  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pepper-D-Basham or Twitter at https://twitter.com/pepperbasham

4 comments:

Laurie Tomlinson said...

LOVE this encouragement and especially those tips. Such wonderful, practical advice!

Patricia Beal said...

What brings me comfort? Knowing I'm not the only one waiting. This weekend I asked several friends the awkward question: Have you heard anything from the editors who requested your manuscript last September? The answer? Not a peep. Across the board. That gives me hope. Hope = comfort. People say "misery loves company" like it's a bad thing, but I don't think it's a bad thing at all. If everyone is waiting, then we haven't been forgotten. It's just not our turn yet :)

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

So good, Pep! For me, it's all about distraction. Life doesn't slow when we're waiting so getting back into my routine, starting a new project, or reading for pleasure are my mainstays. Of course, chocolate never hurts! ;)

Meghan Gorecki said...

SO loved this, Pepper. Good grief did I need these reminders--so grateful for my widening writerly community in the journey...and our faithful God whose grace is always ever-sufficient even in the patience-testing waiting.