The Agony of Waiting on Betas

One thing about me that everyone who’s ever met me knows is that I’m the most impatient person in the world. Possibly the galaxy. Possibly the universe. I’ve been known to throw toddler-like tantrums when I have to wait on something. (So naturally, I choose to make a career out of writing. Because the publishing industry never makes you wait. It’s logical.)

So waiting on my beta readers to finish (or even start) my book is agony for me. Of course I’m not going to tell them that. They have lives. They’re reading it and commenting for free. They kindly volunteered to do it to begin with. I understand why they’re not done yet. But I can’t help but be overwhelmed with feelings of aggravation and a lot of sadness.

Sadness mainly because my book is done (other than the millions of hours of editing time left ahead of me when the betas finish), but since I’ll still have work to put into it, I’m having trouble moving on. I would love to start the next book (okay, I’ve already started it, but only a couple pages), but I’m afraid if I do I won’t want to go back to this one once the feedback is in. Plus, my characters from this one are still so prevalent in my mind, it’s hard to come up with new ones that aren’t the old ones in disguise.

This time last year, I’d finished my first book, but didn’t have to go through this waiting process. Since I was so excited about my writing, my betas had received chapters pretty much as I wrote them. And then a million variations of said chapters when I rewrote them. They probably read the book more than I did. As a courtesy to their sanity, I’ve only let my husband read this one as I went, allowing them to read the book in its full glory (did I mention my ego is astounding?) all at once. So that’s one reason I didn’t have to wait as long last time. The other reason was last year was wedding season. I had two friends, including my best friend, get married in June, so I was helping with that. Then I got married in August. So I was plenty busy and didn’t have time to go through the creative withdrawal that I’m going through now.

I’m also anxiously waiting on the results of two writing contests my short stories were entered into in January. So that’s not helping the issue. My babies are out there, being judged and analyzed. And it’s heart wrenching. I wonder if this is what a parent feels like the first time their kid goes to school; pacing the floor waiting for them to get home, hoping beyond all hope that they’re in one piece when they return.

So, what to do? Keep up this trend of agonizing boredom? Start the next one and adopt more of a ‘whatever’ attitude toward my betas finishing? Go party with my friends and take my mind off the whole thing? Clean the house from top to bottom? (Hopefully not the last one; I hate cleaning.)

What do you do? Do you move on immediately, or give yourself time to unwind before starting another project?

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3 thoughts on “The Agony of Waiting on Betas

  1. I think moving on to something else is the best distraction. Not only that but by starting something new you’re sort of making a declaration to yourself and to the universe that regardless of how your other projects pan out you’re not going to stop and it’s that kind of dedication that leads to success.

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  2. I’m sorryyyy!!! I keep meaning to pick it back up, but after 30 pages of an ethics book each night, reading gets realllllly old. Love you!

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