One of the aspects of being a writer that you have to come to terms with eventually is waiting.

You send off a story to a magazine, and then you wait to find out if they will take it. You send in your edits and then you wait to hear if they are acceptable. You pitch a project, and then you wait to hear if they liked it. You enter a competition, or apply for a grant, and then you wait to find out if you’ll get it.


And there is a definite correlation between long much you want something and how long you’ll have to wait to hear if you’re successful.

This is why some writers get stressed and jumpy. There’s a feeling of powerlessness that can creep into the mind if it’s already tweaked for over-analysis, and many writers are introverts who spend most of their day inventing disasters for their characters, so it’s a cinch to imagine conspiracy for themselves.

A certain amount of zen acceptance is useful. Apart from prodding for a response after the appropriate period of time has passed, it’s out of your hands. Damnit.

Half empty

You must transform those jangled, imagined scenarios of failure or success (which often occur within seconds of each other) into a better use: so you can dream up new creations, write new stories, research ideas, or plot out your acceptance speech for when you win that award…

Of course, as soon as you come up with something fresh you have to send it out into the world to seek its purpose.

And take your hard seat in the waiting room again.


  • K. A Laity

    I usually just move on to the next thing so I forget what I’m waiting on, but there are two things that have been out for a considerable amount of time that are really irking me. 🙁

    • Maura

      Yeah Kate, it’s hard to curb your impatience sometimes… and I’m not naturally patient! I think it’s kind of funny that I write when my temperament is not best suited to being in a constant limbo. 😉

      Learning to move on and banishing thoughts of what’s on the hook is the way to go. But, we’re just human, and sometimes some projects are dear to the heart and cry out to you constantly.

  • Frank V. Priore

    Everything said is absolutely true. If you are writing articles, short stories or novelletes, or poems for publication, yes – you must research your markets, make your best guess at who might be interested in your work, send it out and …….wait. For larger projects, notably book proposals, might I suggest that you research and submit to literary agents rather than directly to publishers. This for two good reasons. First, this is their livelihood, and they know the markets better than most writers (I know we all want to make it OUR livelihood also, but most of us have to face the stark reality that we can’t quite “quit our day jobs” just yet.) Second, submissions from agents do not end up on the “slush pile,” destined to be leafed through quickly at some later (usually VERY later) date by “first readers.” Submissions from well-established agents with a track record for spotting the gems in the rough that come to them and forwarding same to publishers looking for just such “gems,” will be read usually by an editor or editorial assistant.. No guarantee that they will be purchased, but at least they will be read. Also, when you do get a contract, an agent is invaluable in negotiating the terms for you.

    I was agented for sevral years until my agent retired. At that time, I had decided to return to my first love, which is writing plays for high school and junior high production, and which usually do not have to be agented. Fortunately, I am fairly well known in this area (My book “Getting Your Acts Together” is, as far as I know, the only how-to book for writers seeking this niche.), and I can usually skirt the usual channels and go directly to the editors with my submissions. Also, as I have a theater troop of my own and I belong to several other troops, I can usually have my new plays produced before sending them off for the publisher’s consideration (VERY helpful, if you happen to write plays)..

    Well, that’s my two cents. Hope it is helpful.

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