I find myself in an awkward stage of life. I have a book under contract, and another is going through the ruthless hands of an online critique group while I try to figure out its fate. I’m working on another new book that will be finished in a few months, with any luck. So, I have a lot of things on deck.
The book under contract hasn’t made it to editing yet. The critiquing process is long and arduous. And of course, the new book is months away.
I know I’m not alone in my waiting plight. Many people are waiting for something: a job, a baby, a wedding, whatever. And we all know that waiting basically sucks. You have to keep the hope of the good things to come while you plan and dream. Sometimes, it feels like whatever you’re waiting for will never happen, even though you know it will.
So while I wait, I’ve devised a list of hopefully productive things to do whilst whiling away the hours, days, months, or years.
I’m not so good at this if it takes me away from the computer (which it won’t, because I have a laptop), but my family has two trips planned in the next six months. Travel somewhere new and appreciate the feeling of being anonymous, watching an unfamiliar world work around you. That said, if editing starts while I’m traveling, I might lose my frickin mind.
2. Learn something new.
Did you know you can take old Harvard courses online for free? That sounds intense. I think I’ll learn a few new recipes.
3. Clean out the house.
I don’t mean mop the floor. I mean gut the place. Every few years I pretend like we’re moving and trash anything I wouldn’t want to move. It’s rather freeing.
4. Get together with friends.
Technology has made it too easy to avoid doing this. Make a point of it. You want to see their faces, and I’m pretty sure they want to see yours too. One of my new favorite phrases I’ve seen going around is “I miss your face”.
Pick your flavor. Don’t take yoga if that’s not your thing. When I started working out, I thought yoga would be my thing. I ended up taking combat and weight classes in yoga clothes. I’ve since purchased more class-appropriate attire. The point is this: while you’re waiting for whatever to happen, why not make yourself look and feel like a badass?
6. Read something.
This is especially true if you’re a writer. Consider it studying your craft (see #2). If you’re not, pick up a book your friend recommends and get busy. You might stumble upon a new favorite series.
It doesn’t matter how you do it. There are dozens of ways to inject yourself into the community and work to improve it. Pick one.
8. Improve yourself.
Some, if not all, of the previous points allude to this one. Make this time mean something. Define it. Make it something you’ll look back on and say “Before (insert the thing you’re waiting on here), I did that!” Try to make it a time you’ll look back on fondly instead of with dread.
If you’re like me, waiting has never been a natural thing. I’d like to think I’ve improved with age, but I still have my moments of “Come on already! Gah!” My mom bought a sign for me a couple days before my first son was born (another period of waiting that I didn’t handle well) that says “Lord, give me patience, but please hurry!” I couldn’t have said it better myself.