Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Waiting Room

by Dina Sleiman

Last week a writer friend of mine, Ann Tatlock, posted something on facebook about those who were in "the waiting room." Yep, that was me. Boy did I relate. I'm sure you know that feeling too. That slightly anxious/kind of bored/a little bit excited feeling of waiting for something to happen. Writers are all too well acquainted with this feeling. We wait for agents, then we wait for publishing contracts, only to wait another year or two until the book comes out.

(Commence thumb tweedling now.)

This time around, I actually wasn't waiting for book stuff, (well, I guess I was, but that wasn't the big one on my mind.) I was waiting to hear back about some job interviews I'd had. I felt like both of them went well, but of course I had no idea about the other applicants. Plus, both jobs involved contingencies that had nothing to do with me. And to top it off, I was also told by both potential employers that if the job comes through and they choose me, to be ready to start right away.

(Get tomorrow's work outfit ready, make sure everything else I can possibly get ahead on is done, and commence thumb tweedling once again.)

Sigh. Waiting is not fun. So how ironic that just the week before I had posted a positive message on my facebook page about waiting.

My latest novel, Dance from Deep Within, will release sometime around mid-November this fall. This will be my third published novel, but it's actually the second one I wrote. In fact, a reasonably decent version of this novel was finished three years ago. Talk about a waiting game. My first agent wasn't sold on this book. After talking to a few experts, I changed the primary protagonist of the book from the blond to the Muslim. That newer version was actually the book that caught the eye of my current agent, but she wasn't sure if she could sell it.

We shopped it around for almost two years. One well known publishing house actually held onto to it for over a year, asked about it again, and still didn't give us an answer after another six months.

Finally, long after the novel I actually wrote after this one came out, my agent and I decided to go with a small press, WhiteFire, to publish Dance from Deep Within. And, the truth is, I'm glad for the wait. I'm a much stronger writer now.

But more importantly, after years of begging people, just a few weeks ago I was finally able to get a former Muslim woman to read this book and provide feedback. Now don't get me wrong. I did my research. A Christian expert on Islam from the Middle East read it and approved the content. And the European wife of a former Muslim also read it for me. So my major details were all in place. But this former Muslim woman helped to catch a lot of subtleties about how Muslims think. She helped me to better understand their motivations and the significance of traditions I didn't fully grasp like Ramadan and their ritual washing.

Yes, the waiting was worthwhile. This book is so much better than it ever could have been in 2010, or 11, 12, or even earlier in 2013. As much as it hurt at times, I'm thankful that God made me wait. So how will my current wait turn out? Who knows? But I will keep believing that it will be worth it.

Have you been in the waiting room lately? What do you do to get by?


Dina Sleiman writes lyrical stories that dance with light. Most of the time you will find this Virginia Beach resident reading, biking, dancing, or hanging out with her husband and three children, preferably at the oceanfront. Since finishing her Professional Writing MA in 1994, she has enjoyed many opportunities to teach literature, writing, and the arts. Her debut novel, Dance of the Dandelion with Whitefire Publishing, won an honorable mention in the 2012 Selah Awards. Her latest novel, Love in Three-Quarter Time, was the launch title for the Zondervan First imprint. Look for her newest release, Dance from Deep Within, in November. Dina is also a part-time acquistions editor for WhiteFire Publishing, and she is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of The Steve Laube Agency. Join her as she discovers the unforced rhythms of grace. For more info visit her at


  1. Congratulations, Dina. I really love how thoughtful you were about making sure your characters rang true. Also, how you couldn't let it go until you got it right!
    No matter what, I'm sure it will be worth the wait!

  2. Thanks, Cheryl. This book is very important to me because I feel like it represents very real people we could all do a better job of reaching out to. Of all the books I've written, this was the most essential to get "right."

  3. I've had the privilege to read this book, and it's really thoughtful and thought-provoking. It's a wonderful book and I loved it all the way to the end. I'm in the waiting room waiting to read the next book. ;)

    Seriously, my waiting room involves a lit of things right now. The health of several family members, my own health. Getting back to a normal life after several years of the above.

    And of course there's the writing waiting room. I'm waiting for book two to be available for review, then for sale. I'm waiting for edits on book three, and I'm waiting to see what kind of awesome cover it will have. And I'm waiting to sell book four.

    Great post, Dina.

  4. Suzie, I guess we all spend a good bit of time here, huh?

  5. Ladies-in-waiting, yep, all the time!
    This year has been one of waiting on my body, waiting on tests, waiting for surgery, waiting to recover, etc. I suppose it helps to realize that things are actually going on while we're waiting, even when it doesn't always feel that way!

    I'm very much looking forward to this book, Dina, because I love the premise so much!

  6. So true, Niki, things are going on while we're waiting, even if that is easy to forget.

    And thanks :)

  7. I think I've learned to be much more relaxed this year about what is "super important" in my writing journey. Plans mean nothing because things change so fast. I tend to think not about what I'm waiting for but what I have yet to do. Once I've accomplished the task, I tend to forget about it so I can be surprised.

    Of course this doesn't work for a job that 'may' start tomorrow!

    I do hope you hear soon.
    And I'm so glad that God's timing is always better than ours. Dance from deep within will be a very important book!

  8. I'm the waiting room, too. Maybe we should all share magazines!

    Waiting for answers to prayer, waiting for tough seasons to pass, waiting on health stuff...and writing, of course.

    God's timing is always so much better than ours. I'm trying to remember that.

    So excited for you, Dina!

  9. I guess I'm waiting for the first novel to come out, but mostly I feel like I've been swept out of the waiting room and into a dizzying barrage of busy-ness. I suspect I will find myself back in the waiting room before long...

  10. Deb, I like to plan. And to have a plan b. Not knowing what's coming makes me feel a little crazy.

  11. Yes, Susie, pass over a magazine. I haven't known what to do with myself since I got all my editing projects turned in. LOL.

  12. I know, Barb. Then when the action comes, it all seems to come at once, doesn't it? I've been considering strategies to work Murphy's Law in my favor. Like work on book 2 in one series so that a different one will get picked up. Or really get into a writing project so I'll get a job. Ha ha.

  13. So true that God knows the very best timing for us. But it's SO hard to wait. :)


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