Tuesday, May 06, 2008


The places and spaces in between...are imaginary.

I'm not going to do a play by play of the query process. I think most of you who read this blog have been there. You know the part that gets hard--the part where nothing happens, the silence, the waiting. Creativity is suffocated, snuffed out in this small space in between. You can't concentrate, you're anxious, you want to start something new, but can't get started because...you're waiting.

This past week I have struggled with the concept of waiting. I have been pre-occupied with this notion--this limbo of life. Because I am in this place--not only waiting for responses on the queries, but waiting on someone to fall in love with our house so we can move...waiting to move, waiting for the weather to warm up, waiting to get over yet another illness from the toxic toddler factory. I am huddling in some illusion of stillness, waiting for the future to arrive.

Today I am finally at that place again where I can remind myself that waiting is just that--a concept, an illusion. Something my mind has made up to separate the place I'm in from the place I want to be in. This space of waiting is a prison, but it is also a lie that I am using to imprison myself. Life flows in one continuous stream, there are no spaces in between. Streams do not start and then stop and then wait to start again.

Why does it take so long to remember this?

Waiting is just another word for opting out, for not participating in life. Waiting is an excuse, a space created to let ourselves off the hook. Waiting for someone else to make the next move in our own life. We think, "I just can't go on, I can't do anything but sit here and wait, I'm so anxious." But, life is going on. Life is moving in its faithful direction...forward. Seconds, hours, weeks, years tick by whether we use them or not.

In reality, waiting is not even an option.

I've been trying to figure out what the opposite of waiting is because it's not necessary movement. Sometimes stillness has a purpose: observing, meditating, resting...but these things have nothing to do with waiting. Waiting is not stillness, it is creativity in motion, only it is creating whirlpools of fear, anxiety and doubt that--if you wait too long--you will drown in.

The opposite of waiting then I believe is trust. Trust that things happen, that there is an eventually and no amount of waiting or worrying or wishing on your part is going to make those things happen. Trust that a response will come or it won't; trust that an illness will pass and that another one will come; that warmth will come and go. Moving forward with life, participating in it, appreciating it, creating when we can, resting when we cannot. This is all we have to do.

What does this mean for me personally? Today it means letting go. Letting go of trying to control the query process by over-thinking it, letting go of the outcome. Knowing that if this novel doesn't make it through the process, I can write another one. Knowing that creativity only stops when we stop...to wait.

What are you waiting for?


Tia Nevitt said...

Just like you, I'm waiting for queries. And responses on one partial and one full. Yes, it does stifle creativity. So does being sick, but thankfully I feel better now. I set myself some goals for the week to give me something else to think about.

Joe Novella said...

Hi Shannon,

thanks for the encouraging words you posted on my blog. I love this piece you have done on "Waiting". Love it, and look forward to reading more of your work in the future.

Happy writing to you too.
Joe Novella.

Scott R. Davis said...

IM waiting for God to provide me with a long term relationship with a close friend. it takes time for that to happen.

Anonymous said...

I say that true stillness is not "waiting," but preparing. Sometimes things happen on a micro level rather than macro...and just because we cannot see the motion and the movement does not mean it's not happening. The question I would pose to you is: what do you do "in the meantime?"

Shannon said...

Well, Christian--apparently I become obsessive, scouring the internet late into the night for a house in Fl. lol. I haven't been able to write a thing, but it usually takes me a while to come up with a new novel idea. I wish I were one of these people (like you) who had tons of ideas rolling around all the time, but I'm not.
I am getting back into photography, that's satisfying the creative bug a bit.

Jennifer Boire said...

Hi Shannon,
met you on bella's blog.
am waiting for lots of things to happen, but somtimes I surprise myself and send out a poem to be published, query a magazine; call a cultural centre for space to do a woman's retreat - yes, today I finally made the call, and despite my hanging back fears, am moving ahead,
one breath, one step,
jenn aka musemother

Shannon said...

Hey, Jenn- nice to see you here. Good for you on taking that one step! That's all we can do, right? One foot foward (oh, and if we should fall...ahem, just get back up and hope no one was looking)

Shawn said...

A year ago when we decided to sell our home and relocate a half hour to the capitol, that decision seemed easy.

In just a year, we've realized that a whole year has passed and things are already so much different yet nothing changed. Everything changed.

We're no longer going to relocate; life has been busying happening here. This is where we need to be.

(just not in this house, please)

Anonymous said...

Someone told me I should read this and I'm glad I didn't wait. There's so much good news here.

bella said...

the opposite of waiting as trust!
I've never thought of this before and reading it here, my whole body says YES. and not trust that something in particular will happen, but that life will just happen. because it always does.
you inspire me.

Shannon said...

...and warmth has come.

Shelli said...

This is such a wonderful lesson to learn. Thanks for teaching me. I have been trying to ACT more lately and stop waiting. But, yes, right now I'm waiting for the third cold this spring to pass by. You said it perfectly - toxic toddler factory!

po-bo,po-ho said...

I should give you a hard time, but I'll refrain... but just this once, so don't go getting used to it. ;-)

If you can write such a poetic blog, though, you are selling yourself short on having ideas rolling around in your head. And everything doesn't have to be the next NOVEL, either, you know. :-)

Good luck on the house hunt... and sell.

Leah said...

hey shannon, this is the first time i visit your blog and I am really glad I made it here! thank you for reminding me of the power of faith. wishing you all the best on your writers' journey. i am working on picking up the pieces of a memoir that was not picked up by publishers. I need to remember that if the work is meant to be out in the world, it will be. even if i have to self-publish, damn it! :) peace, Leah

Merelyme said...

i can totally relate. waiting isn't so bad in itself...it is just the template we put onto it which is the problem...we always feel like we should be doing something.

Autumn Song said...

What a great post! I'm waiting for a lots of things - a job interview, a partner/boyfriend - but you're right, it isn't just waiting. I also trust that I will find these things eventually, and that everything during the 'wait' is an experience of something else.

Thank you for the reminder to be positive.

Mary Ann said...

Thanks for the thought that the opposite of waiting is trust. I'd never have thought of that on my own. It's exactly what I needed today. Thank you!