Active waiting; why not a short story?
Writer’s must keep writing. That’s a mantra that has to be pounded into our heads. Never sit around waiting for an editor or agent to get back to you before starting a new project. As soon as you finish your manuscript or proposal, start something new.
It’s wise to separate working on drafts (editing, revising, rewriting, etc.) with a few weeks. Some writers suggest a couple of weeks, Stephen King suggests a good six weeks. I think it’s a personal call but it should be enough time to let things settle in your mind so when you return to the manuscript you come at it with a fresh outlook, reading it as it were for the first time. Between drafts, don’t just sit around. As Uncle Rico says in that cult classic, Napoleon Dynamite, “You might as well do somethin’ while you’re doin’ nothin’.” And there you have it; the wisdom of a homeless mooch.
My suggestion for actively waiting between manuscripts and drafts is to craft a short story. Shoot for between 2,000 and 10,000 words (just a general guideline). The act of writing a short story allows you to practice tight, focused writing. Let your imagination go. Write about something you’ve always thought about but thought “There’s not enough there for a full-length novel.” We all have those ideas swirling around in our head. And who knows? Maybe your short story will lead to an idea for a novel or novella.