Writers Expect Good News

by Steve Laube

Writers expect good news…any day now. Is it the curse of eternal optimism?There is this hope within each writer that it will be their manuscript that is chosen for publication. And the money will rain on them like a spring shower.

Despite the odds.

Despite the competition.

Despite the cynical, horrible, no-good, very-bad agents who review them.


Are these expectations realistic? Of course they are. It is the essence of hope. For without hope there is no reason to continue the pursuit of the craft. You have to believe that you have what it takes.

Are these expectations practical? Of course not. Who said the writing profession was “practical?” I had one client calculate their per hour earnings and discovered her wage was less than half of the current minimum wage. It is like nearly every aspect of the Arts (music, dance, design, painting, theater and writing) monetary compensation can be elusive.


I prefer the word anticipation instead of expectation. The difference is that if we anticipate good news we are happy to receive it. But if we expect good news and don’t get it, then the disappointment can be terrible. It is a subtle difference but one of the keys to surviving the soul crushing writing profession is to manage your expectations and instead focus on the joy of anticipation.


My encouragement to you is to  keep working hard. This industry can be tough, but if you learn to wait (click here) and  prepare properly (click here) you will have earned the right to allow for the anticipation of good news coming your way.


22 Responses to Writers Expect Good News

  1. Sundi Jo December 12, 2011 at 3:12 am #

    Expectations leave room for disappointment and entitlement. I like the word anticipation much better.

  2. Sara Baysinger December 12, 2011 at 4:06 am #

    As usual, you have instilled a practical thought process in my mind. Too often I envision myself as the guy in the above picture, but instead of floating money, I imagine floating copies of my book. Oh goodness… I’m a dreamer. Thanks for the reality check.

  3. TC Avey December 12, 2011 at 6:14 am #

    “I prefer the word anticipation instead of expectation.” Wonderfully said!

  4. Rick Barry December 12, 2011 at 6:45 am #

    I like the old philosophy of “Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.” For me, that approach cushions the heart. Even with the articles and short fiction I sell, sometimes the editors like the idea but still suggest ways to improve the piece before they’ll purchase. I could respond, “That’s the way I wrote it; take it or leave it,” but that would be insane. Whether with short or long fiction, I submit with hopes of acceptance, but if a decline offers even a modicum of suggestion for improving the manuscript, then I’m happy to act on that input.

  5. Marielena December 12, 2011 at 7:35 am #

    “Hope is the thing with feathers
    That perches in the soul,
    And sings the tune without the words,
    And never stops at all.” ~ Emily Dickinson

  6. Heidi Chiavaroli December 12, 2011 at 7:40 am #

    I will cling to anticipation! Thanks for this timely post. 🙂

  7. Lauralee Bliss December 12, 2011 at 7:43 am #

    Excellent and “timely.” Many thanks.

  8. Katherine Jones December 12, 2011 at 7:47 am #

    Timely words. Like the arrival of Jesus on earth, good news comes in God’s perfect fullness of time. Blessed are those who “wait forwardly” for it.

  9. Lindsay Harrel December 12, 2011 at 7:47 am #

    Thanks for the encouragement to keep going despite the odds.

  10. Carol Moncado December 12, 2011 at 7:56 am #

    I am anticipating good responses…

    A very subtle shift from:

    I am expecting good responses…

    I strive for the former. Sometimes, I’m afraid it’s more the latter. :/

    At least until the self-doubt and self-recriminations inherent among authors seep in and I expect poor responses ;). Fortunately, thanks to a lot of prayer and great friends, those days are fewer and farther between :D.

    So I’ll keep anticipating.

    Thanks for the encouragement and help in reframing my thoughts from expectations to anticipation [which is really a more accurate definition of what I was feeling anyway] :).


  11. Anita Mae Draper December 12, 2011 at 8:04 am #

    I know I’m opening myself to all kinds of feedback here, but I have to say what I believe…

    Steve, you haven’t mentioned faith. Yes, I know you’re a businessman and writers need to consider writing in the business vein, but faith is what drives me forward – has driven me forward since I was 7 yrs old.

    Faith that I’m on the path God’s set out for my life.

    Faith that I’m using His gift to the best of ‘my’ ability although He hasn’t shown me the ‘big picture’ yet.

    Faith that I’ll succeed – in whichever capacity of a writer He needs me to be.

    All I have to do is keep improving my skills and try not to cry too much with each disappointment while I wait on Him.

  12. Patrick Craig December 12, 2011 at 8:32 am #

    If I am waiting, preparing, and anticipating, I will be ready when God opens a door. I just have to be sure I am listening and watching so I can walk through it without hesitation when it opens.

    • Peter Eleazar December 13, 2011 at 11:24 pm #

      I so witness with that. The presupposition of all other behaviors is that approval comes from men, but that inclines us to compromise our message for the sake of human approval. Somewhere along the the long, winding road, we need to reach a higher reason for doing what we do, else we will serve neither man nor God.

  13. Lisa Phillips (@nataliagortova) December 12, 2011 at 9:46 am #

    Because clearly any rejection is the fruit of “cynical, horrible, no-good, very-bad agents.”

    Just like all contest judges are biased toward the entrant on a personal level.

    Sure can feel like that at times!

    Thanks for the encouragement, not just to keep working, but working HARD. I’m nearing the end of another first draft, down to the last 3 chapters and I’m getting antsy to finish.

  14. Lilly Maytree December 12, 2011 at 11:09 am #

    “Are these expectations realistic? Of course they are. It is the essence of hope. For without hope there is no reason to continue the pursuit of the craft…”

    Anticipation, expectation, hope… what if these are stages? Today, I was reading “… that God would make known this mystery… which is Christ in you, the hope of glory…” (Col. 1:27) and the thought came to me that if our work had God in it, then there would be a sort of conduit for glory there. Because I have been thinking, lately, that the good Lord is endeavoring to place just as much hope in His expectations of us, that we are striving to have in Him. Ah, the relationship thing, again. The give and take. The partnership. Hope is a very electrifying thing: it sparks believers and non-believers alike. I have even heard stories of it overcoming diseases…

    Maybe it’s supernatural, eh?

    What a thought-provoking post (on many levels), Steve. Thank you for this.

  15. Christina Suzann Nelson December 12, 2011 at 11:27 am #

    I love this post! I think the key is coupling extreme optimism with persistence. At least that’s how I hold on to my fraction of sanity.

  16. Rebecca Barlow Jordan December 12, 2011 at 2:51 pm #

    Steve, my husband and I were just talking about disappointments the other morning. We both agreed that we had only experienced minor disappointments in our lives (I didn’t say no pain! The reason? It seems that anything good God has done for us or through us (me as a writer, and he as a minister,)has been such a surprise. We had no real expectations, though plenty of “anticipations” of what (1) what we wanted to do and (2) what God could and hopefully would do! And He has gone way beyond any anticipations!For us, God has taken “ordinary” and done some extraordinary things–things we NEVER expected. So much so, that I love “anticipating” God’s fabulous surprises! I encourage other writers to keep watching and anticipating God’s surprises. Regardless of how they appear at first, they’re always good, because He is!Okay, sorry, a little preachy there. :-)I liked your post.

  17. Peter DeHaan December 12, 2011 at 3:48 pm #

    Although anticipation is a better perspective than expectation, it is faith that propels me forward. Faith, as in “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

    That is what keeps me writing.

    • Peter Eleazar December 13, 2011 at 11:21 pm #

      Yes, that is the higher cause. It is totally irrational, in human terms, and so hard to justify to others, because it is not my faith but the faith of Christ in us that drives us along such improbable roads.

  18. Bethany Macklin December 12, 2011 at 8:05 pm #

    I expect great things from God. I anticipate good things from publishers, as hope feeds faith, and faith feeds hope and, you get the picture. I did notice however, an awful lot of “clinging to anticipation” “timely words” and such…hope they submitted to a different publisher than I did! 😉

  19. Peter Eleazar December 13, 2011 at 10:32 pm #

    This is a very realistic blog. For me the best point of departure is to have “no expectations”, but to suggest I was ever smart enough to conclude that, would be a lie for it becomes us with time. Am I cynical? No, but I am realistic. Publishing is a journey, not an event, its a race to be run, without beating the air. Years ago I learnt that I would get few acknowledgments from my employers for work well done, so I used to set my own rewards – I would promise myself a meal out or a movie or something similar and I always savored those moments. It kept me working hard, for my own reasons, not for external affirmation – and, as such, I always won.


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