The Hardest Part of Being a Writer

If there’s anything I hate to do, it’s wait. At the gas station, at the grocery store, at the doctor’s office…it’s wait, wait, wait! Drives me nuts. I want to get going, get things done, move, do something! Not just stand or sit there.

If you’ve been at this writing gig for long, you’ve faced that most difficult aspect of writing. The Waiting. You scramble to refine your craft, make your manuscript strong, put together a proposal, and send it off. And then? You wait.

And wait.

And wait.


Well, you get the idea. It happens at every stage of the process. When you send it off to be edited. When you’re waiting to hear from an agent. When you or your agent send it out to editors. When it’s being taken to committee. When you accept a contract (getting that hard copy to sign can seem like it takes FOREVER). And believe me, the waiting doesn’t end when you have a publishing contract. If anything, it gets worse.

I know it’s hard. So I wanted to give you a couple of tips to endure. First, when you’re waiting, don’t stop. If you’re waiting to hear from an agent, keep writing, keep working at refining your craft. If you’re waiting to hear from the editors to whom your agent sent your proposal, keep moving forward. If your manuscript isn’t done, finish it. If it’s done, get started on your next project. Work on your platform. Improve your presence on social media. Learn all you can about promoting your book. Waiting doesn’t mean stopping cold. It means you’ve done all you can in one area, but there are plenty of other areas to keep working on.

Second, and more important, remember that you are not in control. I know, I know, doesn’t seem right, does it? But friends, you’ve got an almighty Advocate on your side, and He’s at work on your behalf. No, not getting you published, but refining you so you are an ever clearer reflection of Him. So when you hit a waiting period, why not study what Scripture has to say about waiting. Such as:

Psalm 27:14–Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. (Take heart, because God is in control. What do you have to worry about?)

Psalm 5:3–In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly. (Be expectant! Not anxious or driven, but expectant. God is at work, and His ways and path for you are perfect. Rest in that.)

Psalm 130:5–I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope. (Your hope is in Him, in His word, not in your writing, in your agent, in a publisher…keep your focus on Him.)

And those are just a very few Scripture from the Psalm. Dig in and see what God has to say about waiting, friends. I’m guessing you’ll find it’s not a hard time, but a time of great growth and blessing. And a time when, if you keep your focus on Him, you can be at peace.


23 Responses to The Hardest Part of Being a Writer

  1. Avatar
    chris Storm June 8, 2016 at 5:12 am #

    I’ve got them all underlined and highlighted. How about this one? Psalm 27;13: “I am confident of this. I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord. Be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord” and in the meantime I will give you Karen Ball. (oops I may have added that last line. )

  2. Avatar
    Robin Bayne June 8, 2016 at 6:50 am #

    Great post, so appropriate for writers.

  3. Avatar
    Laura Conner Kestner June 8, 2016 at 7:06 am #

    Thank you, Karen, for such an inspiring post. One of my favorite verses as I wait is Proverbs 16:9, A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps.

    • Avatar
      Karen Ball June 8, 2016 at 2:53 pm #

      Ooo, that’s a great one. Thank you.

  4. Avatar
    Tammy G Fish June 8, 2016 at 7:35 am #

    Love the admonishment to live each moment “waiting” in Christ. Such a great truth. Today, as I found myself short with a loved one, I remembered the advice I gave to a friend yesterday struggling through a terminal illness. “It never seems to end, and yet, God continues to allow. Someday we will understand, for now we trust.” The truth cut like a knife. How easy to encourage others to wait, to persevere through their trials, yet I find it difficult to live that same advice out in the reality of my little daily annoyances. The Lord is calling me up short this morning.

    Thanks for speaking truth.

    • Avatar
      Karen Ball June 8, 2016 at 2:56 pm #

      Hey, why do you think I write about these things? I’m right there with you! The admonishment stems from God admonishing me. So let’s covenant together to keep our trust and focus on Him.

  5. Avatar
    Sarah June 8, 2016 at 7:54 am #

    This is exactly the word I needed for today!

  6. Avatar
    Sarah Bennett June 8, 2016 at 8:00 am #

    Perfectly providential for me. Thanks, Karen!

    • Avatar
      Karen Ball June 8, 2016 at 2:58 pm #

      Hey, Sarah and Sarah, so glad this was helpful for you!

  7. Avatar
    Richard New June 8, 2016 at 8:15 am #

    Yep, I’m in this phase with my first project. However, I’ve already moved on to projects #2 and #3. Working at both as my interest sways between them. I’m trying not to think about project #1, as it is busy with a freelance editor.

    Thanks for reminding us of Who is really in charge.

    • Avatar
      Karen Ball June 8, 2016 at 2:59 pm #

      You’re so welcome. And good job on moving forward.

  8. Avatar
    Sheri Dean Parmelee June 8, 2016 at 8:47 am #

    Karen, your advice was a blessing and it came at the perfect time. Thanks so much for the blog today! I have taken your advice and am continuing to write- I am working on book two while waiting to hear about book one.

  9. Avatar
    Barbara Blakey June 8, 2016 at 8:55 am #

    I think the waiting is more of a challenge because of the hurry-up of other aspects, such as meeting deadlines. There is no even pace to it all, no balance. We work long and hard to meet the deadline, then wait. So your advice is perfect. The “start and stop” approach will drive us crazy, but if we just keep working, it doesn’t feel like waiting.

    • Avatar
      Karen Ball June 8, 2016 at 3:02 pm #

      Barbara, that’s exactly right. The whole issue of “Hurry up and wait!” has always been a struggle. It’s all about fixing our focus on His timeline.

  10. Avatar
    Beverly Brooks June 8, 2016 at 11:31 am #


  11. Avatar
    cheryl June 8, 2016 at 4:45 pm #

    Karen, I’ve spent many a day in a waiting period of some sort. How wonderful to be reminded that even in my waiting periods that He is refining me so that I can grow towards being a clearer reflection of him.
    The Psalms scriptures are printed and hanging right above my desk with a title that says: STAY CALM

    Thank you for spreading God’s encouragement through your blog.

    • Avatar
      Karen Ball June 8, 2016 at 8:03 pm #

      You’re so welcome. Thanks for your encouragement.

  12. Avatar
    Meghan M. Gorecki June 9, 2016 at 7:13 am #

    SO needed to read this! <3 Going to reread those Psalms right now.

  13. Avatar
    Frenchy Dennis June 10, 2016 at 1:12 pm #

    Thank you. For me you hit the nail on the head. I try to keep busy (writing) so I can “forget” I’m waiting. I know it doesn’t work, but it’s a nice theory. 🙂


  1. When You Must *Not* Wait - The Steve Laube Agency - August 26, 2016

    […] shared, in a previous blog (“The Hardest Part of Being a Writer“), about the difficulty of waiting during the writing journey. Well, I’m happy to report […]

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