Monday, August 08, 2005

Hustle While You Wait

Some of you probably know I also post on Romancing the Blog. I thought I'd run, from time to time, some of the blog posts I've had over there. My next RTB post, BTW, is scheduled to run on August 10th.

“Everything comes to those who hustle while they wait.” – Thomas Edison

I received that quote on a green star at a recent workshop with Margie Lawson. I taped it over my monitor, so that I could see it every day and be reminded of the importance of making use of my time while I wait for…everything. Editors to get back to me on submissions, agents to sign me to blockbuster deals (LOL), readers to buy my books, my kids to go back to school, my husband to remember it’s his turn to cook dinner…

You name it; I always seem to be waiting for something. However, I’m not always hustling while I wait. A lot of times, I’m catching up on “Oprah” or playing FreeCell, or running to the fridge for a snack I don’t need. I feel busy…but am I?

Or am I just procrastinating, so I can drive myself nuts waiting, imagine all kinds of worst case scenarios, and tell myself that my career is in the toilet because my editor didn’t return my phone call eleven seconds after I left her a message?

There’s a reason why everything comes to those who hustle while they wait. In my opinion, they make good use of that time, thereby increasing their chances of success. Secondly, they are so busy working they forget to concentrate on the probabilities of their books going up in a ball of flame in a tragic UPS truck accident.

Yeah, I do get creative in my off time.

However, there’s another element to this theory. When you are continuing to move toward your goal, even a little bit at a time, you feel a better sense of accomplishment. That translates into more self confidence, which is then projected in the work, in your interactions with people, heck, even in your cover letters. You are proactive, rather than reactive, i.e., waiting for the axe to fall or the contract to appear behind Door Number One.

Think of the alternative—not doing anything at all while you wait. While that might sound nice and leisurely, sort of an instant vacation, what are the long-term implications of that inactivity?

You won’t be ready with a back-up plan, should the current one go awry. You won’t be working toward a goal; you’ll merely be waiting on the sidelines. You won’t have anything to occupy your brain. And most of all, you will have let a great opportunity go by while you were busy scrubbing that spaghetti-stained Tupperware.

I’m not saying we have to hustle every day, that it isn’t good to take some vegetation time. However, I, like so many other people, am guilty of letting perfectly good hours go by with fluff instead of substance.

Starting now, I am making a vow—I will fill those empty spots in my life with something meaningful. From playing Monopoly Jr. with the kids to working on the next proposal. Waiting? Well, I’ll only do that for a good table at a restaurant and even then, I’m going to have something with me that will occupy those minutes.

Edison kept on plugging away. Look at where that got us—living in a world brightened by his inventions. I want to give light to my world, too, instead of waiting for someone else to hit the “on” switch.


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