Sunday, September 5, 2010

Waiting and Waiting

Last week, I submitted a short to a market that claimed that most responses were made 'within a day'. Those, I assumed, would be most of the rejections. I haven't heard back from them yet. I refuse to assume that means they want it. Maybe they want it. Maybe they're thinking about it. Maybe they never got the email. I don't know, and according to their instructions, I shouldn't inquire for three months.

The worst part of submitting stories (which is not the same as the worst part of being a writer, in my estimation) is the waiting. It's kind of like, you've wanted home-baked bread all day, and you finally got home from work, made the dough, let it rise, shaped it, let it rise, and got it in the oven. Now you wait for the bread to bake, wait for it to cool enough for you to start eating. Except, with bread, you have a pretty good idea how long it will take before you can pop that first bite of buttered goodness into your mouth. When you're waiting for an editor's response, you really have no clue how long this torture will last.

Okay, I might have heard back from this editor in a day or two. (I rather expected I would. This is not the first time I've submitted to this market.) Since I haven't heard from them yet, a tiny germ of hope has begun to grow. Even though I've heard writers and editors say, "Don't hope until you get the contract," hope does have a habit of springing up whenever and wherever it can. It's hard to keep a good emotion down.

On the other hand, I keep reminding myself about a friend who has been waiting for five years for a publisher to get back to him regarding his manuscript, which they have for a second look. Five years! It's reached the point where he's afraid to ask about it, because it's been so long.

How do I wait for that response – any response – without going crazy? Like so many other writers, I start a new story, or a new novel, or something. I keep working. Oh, yes, I set a little timer to remind me when I can inquire about this submission, but otherwise, I try to shove the memory deep down inside and keep working.

How do other writers get through this time of torture? Is there some kind of secret to it that I haven't learned yet?

See ya next week.    Trudy

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