If you’ve ever traveled with children, you have a good sense of what anticipation means. “Are we there yet?” repeated a gazillion times from the moment the car door is shut at the front door of your house until either they are worn out or your destination is reached.
Anticipation is that state of excitement when you know something will happen and you want that something to happen. You have prepared, packed your bag and started on the road, literally or figuratively.
For a writer, that’s hitting the send button (nowadays) on the email that will deliver your completed, edited and already acquired work to the publisher. Your job is done. Now, you wait. For the cover proofs; for the galleys; for the proofreader; for the copy editor; for the continuity editor; for the marketing department and at last, you have a release date. There is only this one last, sometimes long wait. Through it all, you are anticipating the publication of your book.
Anticipation for the entrepreneurial author is different – it’s all on your shoulders and that has its own rewards.
If you have read my posts before, you know I often use gardening as an analogy for the process of writing. My most recent was Gardening in the City – my contribution to the health and well-being of the birds and bees, as well as memorials to five members of my immediate family who have died, three within the past year. In that post, I included photographs of my growing garden of which I had high hopes, anticipating the arrival of the critters the flowers were intended to help.
In the same way, I had the pleasure of anticipating the publication of my first novel, Wait a Lonely Lifetime. In the case of this book, my anticipation was short, 18 months, in comparison to that of some of my colleagues who received publication dates at least two or three years ahead. My anticipation was cut short when my publisher brought forward the release date by two months. Even that seemed an eternity – exactly the way children anticipate a 30 minute journey as a lifetime!
All too soon, the novel was in my hands, the launch was over and my royalty advance was paid into my bank.
Sometimes, anticipation ends in disappointment – a flat tire, engine failure, the amusement park is closed, the publisher goes out of business, your editor loses credibility, your book is postponed or canceled.
Or the critters for which you planted hundreds upon hundreds of seeds, nurtured, watered, watched and waited for the first signs of growth are not the critters that benefit from your efforts.
Anticipation is the important part of the equation, regardless of results. Anticipation gives you something to look forward to, after a lot of hard work and preparation. Anticipation lasts; gratification is momentary. Anticipation enlivens; disappointment is short-term.
Anticipate without fear. Poppies nourish all kinds of varmints. You can always plant again.
UPDATE October 29, 2013:
What a difference a day can make! This is a definite attack to utterly devastate the California Poppy population on my balcony. There are no signs of snails or slugs. If you look closely, you might see a few hardy feathery fronds hanging on for dear life. That is one of the joys of vegetation. If there’s life, there’s life.