How Not to Wait

A friend and I were working on a project at the school when her cellphone rang. It was her thirteen year old son. His practice had ended early. He needed a ride. “Ok,” she said. “Give me five minutes to put stuff away and I’ll come.” Three minutes later the phone rang again. Same kid. Hadn’t she left yet? As she walked out the door and down the hall, I heard the phone go off again. “Nope,” she said. “I’m not almost there yet. It will take me fifteen minutes before I’m there. Do your homework while you’re waiting. Go take some shots on goal. It’s a gorgeous day. Look at some leaves or something.”

I laughed but I laughed because, at the moment, I can relate to the kid.


After all the excitement of the book deal comes a lot (a lot) of waiting.


And waiting is hard.


For me, here’s what helps. Talk to people who’ve done this before about what to expect. Is it normal for contracts to take forever to wend their way through some place called Legal? Yes. Is it normal for long periods of nothing happening to be interspersed with other periods of semi-frenetic activity? Yep.

Get back to work. You’ve got other stories that need to be written. And revised. And revised. And revised. You know the gig.

And hey, it’s a beautiful day. Get out of your chair and kick the soccer ball around a little.  Look at some leaves or something.

mylisa_email_2-2Mylisa Larsen has been telling stories for a long time. This has caused her to get gimlet-eyed looks from her parents, her siblings and, later, her own children when they felt that certain stories had been embellished beyond acceptable limits. She now writes children’s books where her talents for hyperbole are actually rewarded.

She is the author of the picture books, How to Put Your Parents to Bed (Katherine Tegen Books) and If I Were A Kangaroo (Viking.)


Filed under Advice, Publishers and Editors, waiting

7 responses to “How Not to Wait

  1. Lindsey Lane

    hahahahaaha…Oh Mylisa, this really brightened my day. I’m going out to look at some leaves or something.


  2. I had to laugh at this, because I’m JUST like that kid!


  3. Great pics, Mylisa–and so true. Hope you got to enjoy a day in the sun.


  4. Is that one of your kids? She’s adorable!! And looks a bit like you! (Which makes you both adorable)
    I could so relate to this post. For me waiting was the hardest at three points: 1) when my first book was out on submission and we hadn’t yet heard from the editor.
    2) when the book offer had been made and I was waiting for the contract and then the first check. (Sept offer. Dec. check)
    3) when the revisions notes were forthcoming. (Sept offer. Feb notes)
    It wasn’t hard for me to wait to get published, since there was always something I could tweak (writing, art, writing, art, plot, characterization, voice, writing, art…). But once that work was out of my hands, the Long Wait began.
    I am much, much more patient now. And also faster to pick up my kid.


  5. Waiting is VERY hard! But I am finding it easier to “get on” my other manuscripts now that I’ve had one sale. It seems possible that I might get another sale…but not without perfecting my words.
    Very relevant post, Mylisa!


  6. Truth! I think Tom Petty’s “The Waiting” must have been written about publishing.


  7. Pingback: And Then There’s a Cover and a Catalog Listing | EMU's Debuts

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