The Two Forms of Radio Silence that Can Impact Your Writing Life

On Wednesday, February 24, 2021, I sent my manuscript to the first batch of interested agents. Adrenaline spiked through my nervous system as I clicked the send button and watched my queries disappear.

The rest of the day was filled with all the highs and lows that come with showing up for my writing life.  

Reaching this milestone feels incredible, but as all seasoned writers know, this is but one of many steps on the way to publication.

Like many of them, it contains a healthy dose of radio silence while we wait for updates on our manuscript. 

In the writing life, there are two main forms of radio silence. One often leads to the other, which can put a damper on our writing projects. 

External radio silence is easy to spot. It occurs when we’re waiting for feedback on our manuscripts whether it’s from a writing group, beta readers, agents, or publishers.

Many writers jokingly call this purgatory, because while we hope for acceptance and praise and brace for the rejections and revision requests so common in our field, we exist in the great unknown. 

All of that external radio silence can lead to internal radio silence where our creativity stops speaking to us. When our creativity goes silent, we avoid our writing desks or show up to the page empty-headed and unable to produce a thing.

When this happens, we fear we’ll never write again. Some of us turn that fear into a self-fulfilling prophecy and give up the dream of being a “real writer.” 

Here’s a little secret. Internal and external radio silence are normal parts of the writing life. Those of us who’ve been at it for a while know that as uncomfortable as it is, you can survive it. And, if you persevere, you will become a better writer for having endured it. 

The key is to identify it, love ourselves and our writing anyway, and keep showing up. 

Surviving the silence is the topic for this month’s newsletter series.  

Next week, I’ll talk about how to survive your times of purgatory.

In the meantime, I wish you so much success. 

If a story calls to you, that’s because the world needs it. 

So what are you waiting for? 

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