You've finished your book, edited it thoroughly, and started submitting. Its time to celebrate! But then what? Do you sit back and wait for an agent to gush over your carefully prepared baby and sell it to a big house for a huge advance? *Virtual Slap!* That is exactly what you shouldn't do. Unless of course that's the only book you have in you and you have no desire of making a career out of writing. And that's okay if that's the case but this post is for those who have more than one book in them.
How long you wait depends on you. If you need a break take it. But have no illusions, to be a writer you must write. You shouldn't wait for an agent to pick you up and sell your book. That process can take years and you can write another book in the meantime. If you have research or outlining to do, start as soon as you feel up to it. I begin only days after I send off that last book. Yep, days. Writing is my crack. I cannot stop. You can wait a day, a week, a month, or longer if you have to. But don't wait forever.
Set goals and stick to them. I made several writing resolutions this year. I've already met one of them and I'm right on my timeline for the next one. That's right, I've finished a new book already this year, editing and all. It's now on my agent's desk. Believe me, I do NOT cut the editing process short to get the book out. Those of you who know me know how much I love editing. My editing process is considered in my goal timeline. Never fear though, you don't have to write and edit as fast as I do. Like I said, writing is my crack.
A book in a year is a very respectable goal. One page a day gets an average book written in a year. A page isn't much. You can accomplish that by stolen moments here and there while the kids sleep, while you're waiting to pick them up from soccer practice, or while on break at work. If you can only get a rough draft done in one year that's fine. No matter what your goal is, set it and stick to it the best you can. Write that next book! It will help keep you sane while you wait.