The Submission Waiting Period, aka The Pain of Infinite Longing

Submitting is a total pain, but what’s worse is the waiting. When I send stuff out, there is always a period I go through in which I don’t want to write anything. I instead want to check my e-mail every 20 seconds to see if I’ve gotten an answer yet. It’s really like being an 6th grade girl again, sitting by the phone, picking it up to make sure it still has a dial tone.

Once I get through the mooning period, I then can start writing again and living my life without checking my e-mail on my phone while I’m driving (very bad).

I’ve been submitting my stuff for 3 years now, and this has always been the process. I imagine that says something about me. Sometimes, I am quicker to surrender than other times, but I still keep submitting because I’ve been told that the footwork is important. Yes, it’s a hard business for us. Yes, a dozen rejections may feel like a wound to the soul, but I’ve gotten enough breathers to keep me going: nice rejections, personalized rejections, acceptances. Each time I submit my stuff, I learn something about the process about doing it.

I also make sure to continue to dream by sometimes sending my work out to one of my dream journals: the New Yorker (I am comforted by the fact that Bobbie Ann Mason submitted 20 short stories to them before they accepted ones), Poetry Magazine, etc.. When I do this, I always have some wild, irrational hope that TODAY IS THE DAY! All I want to do is stand outside the literary journal’s office with a boom box over my head, playing songs that subconsciously scream, “PUBLISH THAT ONE! THE ONE WITH MY NAME AT THE TOP!”

Today, I am trying to get out of my mooning period by focusing on my work: the reading I need to do as we finalize the Spring 2012 issue of The Pinch, my work with my students, and the little things that help me get back to what focuses me: reading through some poetry that inspires me, critiquing the poems for my workshop.

How do you handle the submission process? Are you able to submit and just truck through it?

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4 thoughts on “The Submission Waiting Period, aka The Pain of Infinite Longing

  1. I felt that way when I was sending out pitches to editors for print articles. The really bad thing is sometimes they never responded at all! I gave that up for more steady online work that didn’t involve spending days on pitches that were ignored.

    As for poetry and essays, I have just gotten back into sending that kind of work out. So far so good. I’m not stressing over it at all since I told myself it doesn’t matter if I get accepted. The important thing is trying.

    1. Congrats! It sounds like you’ve got a great attitude about it: you’ve put in the footwork and you’re not in charge of the results. I’ll try to practice thinking more like that. I’m not in charge of the results (even if I did stand outside their offices with a boom box), just the footwork. The important thing is definitely trying, feeling like your work is worth it. You just may have helped me out today, Peggy!

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