Or, veni, vidi, mansi.
I’ve never been really good at waiting – for dinner, for the weekend, for those ridiculously long hikes I somehow always get dragged on when camping to finally be over. You get the idea.
So naturally, I decided to write. The “profession” with the longest wait times EVER.
Alright, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but the point still stands. It’s the waiting that kills me – when I have a dozen submissions just floating around in the netherworld. For about a week, I have to check and re-check their status. Then I forget about them for a few months. The cycle might repeat a couple times. Then, finally a response.
Of course, these lit mags have hundreds, sometimes thousands, of submissions to sift through. I’m sure they wish they could speed up the process. So it’s a two-sided issue.
The one thing that is great about the wait – and any of you who’ve ever submitted anything can undoubtedly testify to this as well – is that when the rejection comes in, it’s been so long it doesn’t have the same disappointment as if it came in when you first submitted and were still excited about it. For one or two rejections (and one acceptance), I’d actually managed to entirely forget I’d ever submitted in the first place. In each case (acceptance included), I remember looking at the name of the lit mag and thinking to myself, when did I submit this? [I keep a log of submissions for this reason; I can always go back and verify that it’s legit.]
So the long wait times do give some distance and help prevent some of the rejection-depression that’s super easy to get after a while. There’s really no way to entirely stop it (except by giving up – and that’s just a whole different kind of writer’s depression). For me, the easiest way to wait and deal with the inevitable rejections is to log out of Submittable and just stop looking. When the lit mags decide, I’ll get an email from Submittable without having to log in.
I also do a lot of writing and editing. Sometimes, I’ll edit a piece I’ve already submitted. Sometimes, that editing makes me hope the piece will get rejected just because I like the edited version better. It also helps to write other things, stories I find I like just as well as the ones I submitted. Not only does it give me something else to submit, but it also gives the mind something else to occupy it.
I’d love to hear if any of you have ways you kill time when you’re waiting. Otherwise, don’t forget to check out the new Lit Mag of the Month!
Final note: Mom, if you’re reading this, maybe me being a half-hour late for everything won’t seem like such a long wait after this. No? Well, I had to try.