As an actor and an author, I want to have many irons in the fire. I have some control over how many I send, but none over when information about those irons (such results of submissions to literary agents, auditions, callbacks, even the shoot schedule when I have a booking) will arrive, which can wreak havoc on my schedule and, somehow, at times, my brain. At the moment, I’m waiting on many fronts, including a very exciting and hugely challenging writing opportunity.
I’m not the only one who finds waiting difficult. An actor friend who was on check avail for a commercial posted more than once on social media, calling the waiting nerve wracking. Why is that, when you’re not actually doing anything? Maybe it’s the lack of control, uncertainty, or lack of closure.
Here are my Top 5 Tips to help you endure the waiting process:
1) Keep going. If you’ve submitted to an agent (whether literary or acting), their websites often list response times. But if that’s a month or 6 weeks, the urge to keep checking your email can be strong. And many say they only respond if interested, so you might not even get the closure of a rejection. Send out another submission. Finish other work. Staying busy and having more eggs in your basket gives you more opportunities and lessens the importance of each individual submission.
2) Accept that there’s nothing you can do to make the news come faster. And that often, it comes later than you expect, meaning you have to wait longer. Recently I was “on ice” for a small role in an industrial, a corporate video. Talent was asked to set aside multiple days…and I didn’t find out for several weeks that a) I was definitely booked b) when I’d shoot. I’m waiting for a shoot schedule for a commercial next weekend, which means other plans are on hold. It can be difficult not to get antsy, especially if things that can’t be changed, like theatre tickets, are involved. Realize this is part of the chaos of a feelancer’s life.
3) Be grateful and enjoy what you’ve achieved so far. You can’t win it if you’re not in it. But the bigger the opportunity, the harder waiting can be. My dream agent is interested in my book! I’m up for a national TV commercial! When I called a friend to congratulate her on being a RITA finalist (RWA’s version of the Oscar. The awards are presented at a black tie event with nearly 2,000 in attendance, including many industry professionals), the first thing she said was that she knew she wouldn’t win. What a way to downplay a huge honor thousands of romance authors wish for.
4) Nip social media envy in the bud. Seeing that a friend got a check avail/booked a job, got the call or got nominated for a huge award, can sting. You can still be happy for your friend while wondering, “When is my turn?” Of course, posts can be exaggerated, too. There may be days when it’s better to just stay off social media and focus on yourself. Everyone’s path is different. Luck and timing can play as big roles as talent and skill. You may yet book/get the thing you’re waiting for.
5) Know that no news doesn’t mean the world is ending or that door is closed. Having a slow couple of weeks as an actor and doesn’t mean all the casting directors hate you. Worrying for a short time is one thing. Dwelling/obsessing/what iffing is another. Don’t let waiting stymie you or allow you to carry the stress into other areas of your life.