The No Pants Patience Dance: Query and Manuscript Submissions

Patience is a virtue I’m not incredibly good at. Whether it’s waiting for water to boil or a delicious pizza to bake, I’m hovering, pacing, probably swearing up a goddamn storm for something I have no control over.

Which brings me to another something that pairs awkwardly with patience. The wait after you submit your novel and query letter to an agent and/or publishers. LORD AWMIGHTY THE WAIT. A torturous stagnation, your book’s fate in limbo, while you check your inbox more times a day than you’d like to admit.

Your mouse has never been so fingerbanged.

Your mouse has never been so fingerbanged.

But luckily, there are ways to cope.  Ways I’ve passed the time and (am currently) managing my patience while my book or query letter is subjected to scrutiny. Ways to occupy your mind while you wait on others to dash your hopes and dreams and pummel your budding little author’s heart.

Fortunately, only a few require wearing pants.


1. Travel (pants required)

The best way to get away from your inbox? Take a vacation. Roadtrip it. Tiny weekend trips, day getaways, anything to get out of town and get your mind off of that precious manuscript burning holes in agents’ inboxes.


"Novel? What novel?"

“Novel? What novel?”

 2. Write MORE (pants not required)

And write something different. Something new. Find a story that’s been shelved or pick up one in-progress. Fall in love with new characters, say goodbye to the old ones (for now) and you’ll forget about the query. Well, maybe just for a little bit but a new story is satisfying enough that you won’t check your email every day.


3. See your long lost friends (pants perhaps required? consult with friend)

Hey, you know those people you ignored while you were toiling away at your desk, muttering and cursing at word docs? Call them up and make some dates. Apologize for your hermit-ness, lament your query waiting, and then have a goddamn cocktail and catch up.


 4. Tackle a project around the house (pants not required)

Maybe you live in the Money Pit or the Last House on the Left, either way I’m guessing there’s some big, bad project around the house waiting for you to get on it, son. That stack of magazines the neighbor’s now buried under? Yeah, clean that shit up. Or bury the body.


5. Be a Vegetable (pants not required)

And I don’t mean the Terri Schiavo kind either. I mean plant yourself on the couch and veg the fuck out in front of your favorite TV. TV was a rarity for me after I got sucked into writing my book, so enjoy a little time to just beach yourself and have an X-Files marathon for a few days…or weeks.


Pretty much sums up the x-files.

Pretty much sums up the x-files.


I don’t expect these solutions to miraculously solve all your (or my) patience problems or get quicker submission responses. Obviously, I’m not a wizard.  I mean, shit, until you get a “yes, no, maybe so” nothing will satiate you. It’s the bane of being a needy writer, and the potential excitement that maybe, just maybe, your hard work will have paid off and your little darling baby of a book will be shoved into the world.

It’s a good impatience worth having. So sit tight and buckle in.


1 Comment
  • Reply

    Terry Neff

    February 3, 2015 at 3:40 pm

    I love the (no pants required).
    This is the longest I have ever lived alone, I’m house sitting for a friend. Big house, last house on the left dead end cul-de-sac, very private backyard (pee off the back deck necked and nobody can see you kinda backyard) so I can relate to your no pants required 🙂

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