Is there anything more annoying than having done your part and then waiting around endlessly for someone else to do theirs?
I finished the final run through of my new TA book and emailed it to my editor on July 2nd. I was supposed get the final edits back in a week to proof and then we’d be ready to go. This would have been a fast turn around but I was assured it would be done. Just in case, I built in a month anyway. As long as it was back to me by the end of July, I would still be where I needed to be to get it out in time.
Long story short, between tech issues and just things taking longer than expected, I guess, I was supposed to get the full finalized version on August 2nd and I didn’t get it. I spoke to the editor yesterday (I’m writing this on 8/9) and she said she’d send it over that night and I didn’t get it then either.
Because I’m no fool, I didn’t announce the release date just in case but I had been expecting to have the book out by now and I’m frustrated that I don’t. Not only does it look unprofessional on me because I promised it and it’s still not available, but I’m particularly annoyed because I raced to get this done in time at great personal expense in the form of lack of sleep and time spent with loved ones and, after all that rushing, work and stress, I’m sitting here losing an entire MONTH+ twiddling my thumbs while I have to wait on other people. At this point, I’m wondering if I will ever actually get it back and starting to panic, though that’s just being dramatic. (I think. Hopefully.)
This is not me blaming anyone. I understand people have personal problems or technology issues and they can’t always deliver as promised. I am a human and I understand what that’s like, the whole being human thing. I also understand that the publishing industry moves at a glacial pace. But it’s still frustrating to sacrifice time/sanity/sleep over something and then hand it over to someone else for which it isn’t a priority and they just fiddle away* all the time you worked so hard for. Your work is the product of your hard labor so it’s important to you… but it may just be yet another annoying thing on the other person’s list. (*=That’s the other part of it. For all I know, my editor is working on it day and night, without time to sleep or eat, frantically trying to finish. But it’s impossible not to picture them just sitting around doing nothing, not working on it and what in blue blazes is taking so long, I was able to go through it in half this time with no time and toddler so why the h– deep breaths, Hillary. Calm. But you get my point. I’m VERY emotionally invested in my own work.)
This is a big part of running any kind of business or doing any kind of work and it never isn’t exasperating. That said, it can help you come to terms with it to remember that, as frustrating as it is, it’s not as big a problem as it feels. For instance…
It is what it is. I hate that expression but it works in this case. I’m sitting here on my hands just waiting and waiting and feeling like I could have maybe spent a little more time with my family and taken better care of myself rather than work so hard on the book over the last few months if it was going to take this long anyway but that’s not sound logic. This is probably how long it would have taken no matter what and at least now we got this long waiting period started a little earlier which hopefully means it will be done that much earlier on the other end.
It usually doesn’t matter as much as it feels like it does. Is it driving me insane to keep waiting, watching the time pass, my hard earned lead time disappearing? Of course! But that’s because I’m invested in the project. Since I never announced a firm release date, my readers probably don’t care that much about the delay and most may not even notice. And how long a delay will it result in, really? Perspective can be a great help in a case like this.
You can (almost) always make up the time in other ways. I’ve pulled all nighters before and I can do it again. When I finally do get the book, I can pull extra hours and work my butt off to make up the time. Sleep is for the weak, right? Sanity? Overrated. The important thing to remember is that, once it’s back in your hands, you’ll be in control of the timing again and can hopefully make up the delays.
It’s necessary. In the end, there’s nothing we can do about it. There will always be some things we need to rely on someone else for and, control freaks that we business people are, we have to find a way to come to terms with the fact that not everyone works like we do and holds our work to the same priority level as we do.
In the end, there may be nothing else to do but sit back, have a glass of wine and just come to terms with the fact that you’ve done all you can and there’s nothing you can do but wait now. It’s out of your hands. And chances are, no matter how bleak it feels right now, it will work out in the end.
What strategies do you use when working with others?