Waiting around for Good News

Who Do You Love?

For anyone trying for American agents

Not open for further replies.

Paul Whybrow

Full Member
Jun 20, 2015
Cornwall, UK
I came across a quote from Samuel Beckett’s play Waiting For Godot, which made me snort in recognition:

There’s no lack of void

Those five words describe a writer’s lot very well.

If you’re querying, it feels like throwing paper aeroplanes into a gale with messages written on the wings, hoping that someone responds. Writing a new story sometimes feels to me like wandering in a thick fog. I knew where I was headed when I set out, but the plot has strayed and I’ve encountered more stiles and ditches than I thought I would and in the last chapter a bull appeared and almost chased me off a cliff. What am I doing? I’m no better now than when I started writing novels six years ago. And, nobody cares.


I’ve previously posted about how important luck is in getting anywhere and that being a masochist helps to endure the tedium, repetition and loneliness of being a writer.

Being rejected multiple times by literary agents and publishers will do wonders for your powers of resilience. But, you suffer alone. So, why not self-publish? I have done with three different outfits—Smashwords, D2D and Amazon KDP. Uploading an eBook and seeing it appear onscreen is briefly satisfying until you realise that what you’ve just done is like throwing a snowball into a snowbank; it’s disappeared. A reader could find it if they looked, but marketing and self-promotion would help their search. That takes time to accomplish.

Enter blogging and posting on social media, but, once again, you’re waiting for feedback. Most of what we do as writers is speculative: we write not knowing if anyone will respond.

I’ve recently started using Twitter. To my surprise, I like it and the reason why is that I get a response to what I tweet. It feels less like throwing a message in a bottle into the ocean and more like shouting into an echoey valley where another lonely author hears you and bellows back!


The Colony is a supportive community for which I’m eternally grateful. Prior to joining in 2015, I’d spent two years writing, but not talking to anyone, preceded by four years of black depression where I was trapped within myself. So, thank you @AgentPete for making me less demented than I might have been. :rolleyes:

The void awaits us all.

It’s part of being a writer. We wait around for good news.

How do you keep going?

I'm in the opposite position, if I didn't write I'd be depressed. I've been at the point where I typed "I want to die", and my 8 year old read that (*cringes in shame*), but I had just lost all my speech and, right after my stroke, all I could do is blink. So writing keeps me sane, after what I've been through a rejection is "meh".
There is no such thing as empty. Even death isn't empty.

I do other, paid writing in-between, and the work is very interesting, so I don't mind the long silences. I only wonder now and then at the business etiquette.

I recognise that bad place, Rachel...and in your case, little wonder. I caught myself talking to myself, one day, saying something out loud that I was not going to allow in. Despair, as Paul describes. It's what grief can do. It's what chronic, permanent pain can do, and this was not only chronic, but acute. And it's not natural. Nature says you get better or die. And the loss of freedom was well night intolerable.

Hearing myself express despair, I decided then and there to do two things: write a novel to find out if I could, even if it was a heap of steaming shite, which I have now done. Shite or not. And I decided to learn how to do divination to see if I could do something useful and practical with it. Direct it for use, and maybe one day, if I became fluent enough, deliver it as a service to others. Instead of just having strange experiences which taught me some interesting things, but which otherwise meant...what?

I spent years in study. I studied alone. No groups, No conferences. No woo-woo. No affirmations. Don't need groups for that.

There are places we go alone, or else we're just regurgitating. Spinning. Hades is the place for writers to go. Not hell, but Hades. All artists need to go there; poets, writers, painters, photographers, musicians, whatever their metier. Great scientists too. Great doctors, engineers.

It's where the 'eurekas' get born.

You know right away if the artist has been there or not. In the world of film, this would include Del Toro. He has been there big-time.

The rest, the groups, company, is for good cheer, and because there is always something new to learn from someone else.
I make things. Design and stitch canvas tapestries, practise calligraphy, try parchment craft, make cards and play at artwork, take cuttings of plants, and seeds from trees, feed and water them and watch them grow. They seem to like me :)

Yes, it's lonely – and, Rachel, I can only imagine the bad place you found yourself in. I'm glad writing is your escape.

I don't know about the void, but I think expectation has a lot to do with how good or bad we feel as writers. I've tried to put my expectations aside – that old saying 'Expect nothing and you will not be disappointed' comes to mind :) Once I had accepted that I was going to write for me and not some toxic industry, I relaxed. I suspect no publisher in their right mind would take me on anyway – if I don't like the rules of a game, I don't play. If a deal is bad, I walk way. I'd rather create another book than a media 'presence' – and only blog when there's something to say. Yeah, they'd hate me :)
I certainly don't have a void to fill, what with may day job (which gives me a fair bit of satisfaction in itself) and my family (frustrations and joys abound).

My main response to rejections is (after feeling disappointed for a bit) is to get on with something...usually, going back to the rejected MS and taking another critical look at it to see what needs to be done to turn the rejections into acceptances. Or, getting on with another project.

I've also surprised myself by enjoying Twitter...at least, I enjoy book Twitter. Other areas aren't so supportive, and I'm always conscious of the danger of falling victim to a sustained troll attack or unwittingly sparking off a pile-on.

And Litopia, of course, is a great community with lots of friendly people who "get" this whole writing lark completely. It's hard to feel alone when all these online friends are there to offer virtual hugs and cake.:star-struck:
Not open for further replies.

Who Do You Love?

For anyone trying for American agents