AngerSometimes I see questions like these in social media groups: “Just sent my book out to an editor / reviewer / contest / publisher…but now what? I can’t STAND waiting!”

My usual glib answer is to suggest the writer find something else to do. Start another project. Pick up one you’ve put aside. Write press releases. Update your website. Beta read for another author. Distract yourself from thinking about whatever is hanging out there. Because sending your stuff out takes TIME. Professionals are doing professional-type things to it, some are being handled by volunteers nice enough to give you their attention and expertise, and it’s going to take however long it’s going to take. So the best thing you can do is get on with your day.

Until I’m the writer waiting, of course. I’ve written three first drafts since November. One is “composting” until I’m ready for the next draft. One is out with beta readers. Another is in that irritating, luffing-in-the-middle stage and I need a little break from it. I have books submitted to three different contests. And a bunch of reviewers. So I whined to a Facebook group about the current state of agitated ennui in my writing life, and the answer was… find something else to do.

Yeah. I’m sensing the irony here. That’s why I’m making a list. I’m including all the things I put off while I was working on two first drafts since November, held captive by a character who kept insisting I listen to Frank Sinatra while I wrote his stories. Maybe I can get around to some of these things now:

  • Buy Christmas presents.
  • Dust my penguin collection.
  • Rinse and return all the Sam Adams bottles that have been accumulating on my bookshelves.
  • Find a pen that works. Maybe two.
  • Install the software that my husband gave me for my birthday. In August.
  • Throw away the empty peanut butter jars in my writing room.
  • Ditto the Nutella jars.
  • Stop buying Nutella.
  • Vacuum.
  • Get a haircut. (You’re welcome.)
  • Go through the closet and find the two manuscripts I wrote and only have on floppy disks.
  • Cut up the three bottle’s worth of seven-year-old solidified Bailey’s Irish Cream and dispense. (Yes, if it sits that long, it becomes a solid.)
  • Read the seventh Harry Potter book.
  • File the three-foot-high stack of printouts of old manuscripts that exist on backup media newer than floppy disks.
  • Write more blog posts so I don’t have to resort to lame lists.

What do you do when you need a distraction?