Active and Passive Waiting (again)

There were too many happy distractions during the past week, and creating a new post wasn’t in the cards. I hope you’ll find something of interest in this re-run from 2013.


“They also serve who only stand and wait.”

John Milton
mom at larwood beach_sm

I admit to doing a lot of sitting. I sit and think, sit and talk, sit and watch, sit and write. In this photo taken by my DD, I was sitting and absorbing inspiration from the sight, sounds and smells of the ocean.

Sometimes I sit and wait.

Writers do a lot of waiting… waiting for time to write and inspiration to strike, or perhaps waiting to hear from beta readers, editors and agents. The most ineffective kind of waiting is passive, and I don’t believe indulging in it has any value. If we sit, wonder and worry, we fall prey to negativity. We stagnate. Active waiting puts us in control of how we are affected by the passage of time. It’s all about attitude.

Being proactive results in being productive. While we probably can’t change the outcome of whatever it is we’re awaiting, we can use the time to our advantage by doing something positive. Writers might start a new story or article, go on a research trip, contact a colleague to brainstorm or offer encouragement. Whether in life or writing, when we make an effort to wait actively, we discover there are all sorts of possibilities.

Milton’s quote is often used out of context, but so are the scripture verses below. They can be construed to mean we should just sit around (or stand) and wait for God to make something happen. But in my books faith is meant to be active. I know it’s a noun, but I prefer to think of it as a verb… a kind of ‘doing’… just as waiting should be a ‘doing’.

Can you think of other situations in which we can actively wait and thus move forward rather than be a victim of  inactivity?



“But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength.”

Isaiah 40:31a

“Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart.

Psalm 27:14a

~  ~  ~


Published by Carol

A freelance writer of fiction and non-fiction living on the West Coast of Canada.

5 thoughts on “Active and Passive Waiting (again)

  1. Yes, writers do a lot of waiting. It’s a good thing we’re a patient bunch. I suppose the best thing to do is to fill that time up with other productive things that’s why I like to keep several stories on the go. When I’m waiting on one there’s another just waiting for me. 🙂

    1. If I were better organized I could have a few stories out on submission while I worked on a current WIP, but I tend to focus on the writing part and forget the submitting part. LOL.

  2. I am forced to do more sitting than I usually do as a writer because of an injury. I’m doing a lot of praying for patience and healing!

    1. Sorry to hear you’re coping with an injury. Sending good vibes for a speedy recovery. I hope it’s giving you lots of writing opportunities in the meantime.

  3. I clean while I wait. I do like to watch the birds, loon, ducks, etc., but I also like clean, sparkling surfaces. I like waiting when I’m lazy or cold. I sit and wait for either warmth or energy. Does it work, waiting? I generally fall asleep, so no it doesn’t. LOL.

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