Book Cover of Enmeshed by J L HeylenOr, why waiting for feedback on your manuscript is the worst part of a novelist’s job.

Waiting. Waiting. Waiting.

Am I unusual? Do all writers hate waiting?

Is it a trade secret, or does everyone know that novelists are self-obsessed children who are constantly seeking approval? Maybe that’s just me.

I am struggling with this question right now. I am re-evaluating my ability to delay gratification.


Because my latest book is currently being reviewed and critiqued by my Beta Readers before publication.

It takes a good Beta Reader at least a month to read one of my novels and come back with comments and critical feedback. All of that time, and more, I am waiting.


Full of self-doubt.

Wondering. Was I completely deluded?

Unable to start something new. Unable to finish what I started. Caught in limbo. Between lovers. Out of sync. Full of ideas I am unable to integrate yet.

While I wait I write sex scenes with no beginning, which end too abruptly and fit nowhere. That way, I get over the craving to write – the incessant voices in my head which constantly vie for airtime – but it is, at best, a temporary fix. I write sex scenes because I can fit them in or leave them out and without affecting the rest of the story too much, usually.

This feeling of impatience and need for approval was at its worst after I wrote my first book. I thought, after having written four others, that the intensity might have abated somewhat by now.

No, it hasn’t.

As a reader, I approach a published novel as a new beginning; a world to explore; people to meet who might become friends. Even I, who know what comes before, never give a thought to the angst and hours of worry that immediately preceded the final edit.

I imagine this feeling is even more heightened in writers who have submitted their manuscripts to a publishing house. At least as an Indie self-publisher, I know I am not going to reject my latest effort outright, even if my Beta Reader is tempted to do so.

But in the darkness of a sleepless night, what other writers are feeling is not in my mind. I think dark thoughts of inadequacy and failure.

‘Is it long enough? Is it a good shape? Will the girls like it?’

Only time, and waiting, will tell.