The Waiting is the Hardest Part

Filed in The Writing Life, When Writing Is Hard by on June 1, 2011 • views: 447

Waiting2What Tom Petty said was true—waiting is hard. And sometimes life can seem like one big long line.

Waiting for Mr. or Mrs. Right. Waiting for your ship to come in, your dreams to come true, or your luck to turn around. If you’ve started down a new road, you may be waiting to see the fruits of your labors. You continue to work, but the results are long in coming.

So you wait.

Waiting can be a dangerous companion. Dark and uncertain, it can drain us of hope, especially when it seems it will go on forever. Sometimes our most important dreams take the longest to accomplish. A coveted position in your field. A record contract. A successful adoption of a child. The completion of a dream home. These often take years. Years of working toward one thing, and years of waiting.

It would be wonderful if we could bide all our time with useful activity, positive thinking, and consistent rededication to the objective. But we’re human, so we’re likely to experience a bit of depression, uncertainty, self-doubt, and even despair along the way.

What to do then? What to do, to make sure we don’t lose everything we’ve worked for moments before we take hold of the brass ring?

If you’ve found yourself feeling down lately because the waiting seems to be going on and on, here are a few tips to get you out of the funk.

1. Stop waiting and do something. The best cure for waiting is to stop waiting. Surely there is something else you can do toward your dream. Choose something that will get you feeling enthusiastic again. If you’re an artist that has yet to be recognized, enter a contest, a talent show, or volunteer to share your skills. If you’re trying to adopt a child, start putting together a scrapbook or paint the child’s new bedroom.

2. Re-evaluate your approach. If you’ve been years at this and nothing is happening, spend some time going over your activities and charting their results. Maybe you need to try something different, hire some help, attend a convention, or talk to an expert. Throw something new into the mix and see if it doesn’t get things rolling again.

3. Compare your situation. Sometimes hearing the stories of others can help us realize that we’re still on the right track. Other writers took years to get published. Other parents spent years creating families. Other professionals worked years finding their niche. Research others in your situation and read about them, or better yet, talk to them in person if you can. You’ll realize you’re not alone, which can make waiting a bit easier to swallow.

4. Ask yourself if you’re wasting your life waiting. Do you enjoy what you’re doing, or are you treading water waiting for something else to happen? If it’s the latter, you may be walking down the wrong path. Whatever it is you’re doing, it’s most important that you enjoy the process of doing it. It’s one thing to want to be a writer—another to actually enjoy the act of writing. If you don’t enjoy the process, you may want to rethink your goals.

5. Is something holding you back? Tune into your inner voice and ask yourself: Do you really have to wait right now, or are you choosing to wait because you’re afraid of the next step? Sometimes we feel the strongest resistance just before we experience success. If you’ve got the business loan but you’re waiting to sign the papers, ask yourself if your reasons are valid. If your dream guy or girl is ready to take the next step in your relationship and you’re dragging your feet, delve into your psyche a bit. Maybe all you have to do to stop waiting is take a leap of faith.

Like wine, good books, and deep loves, some worthwhile things just take time. Just make sure your waiting doesn’t discourage you.

“Gonna stand my ground, won’t be turned around
And I’ll keep this world from draggin’ me down.”

Tom Petty wrote that one, too.

© Jacetan | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

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