The Wait

© 2009 Marylane Wade Koch

You’ve finished your story, polished to perfection, and submitted it to the publisher. Maybe you met an assignment or contest deadline. Perhaps you sent a query or book proposal to an editor or agent. What comes next? The Wait.

Most of us have experienced periods when we wait for a special phone call, letter, or email to arrive. Time drags and anxiety mounts as each day passes without an answer. The Wait can be painful—zapping our energy, creativity, and self-esteem.

The idiom The watched pot never boils applies to the writing life. We wait for an acceptance, feedback, or a check for our work submitted in a timely way. Then the editor, publisher, or agent takes weeks or months to reply. Sometimes we don’t even receive a response.

The best way to manage The Wait is don’t. Make the most of that suspension in time. Increase productivity by taking some of the following actions:

  • Log the completed work into your submission tracking file and regroup.
  • Press on to your next article, story, or poem submission.
  • Retrieve those rejected manuscripts sleeping in some almost forgotten file and revise them for submission
  • Develop a list of possible article or story topics for future writing.
  • Organize an inventory of target magazines or publishers for upcoming submissions.
  • Send a query to a new magazine.
  • Look for opportunities to submit previously published work as reprints.
  • Research another article, story, or book idea.
  • Read a book on writing, take a class, or attend a writers’ conference to sharpen your skills.
  • Keep more than one story or manuscript submitted to editors or publishers at all times.

Taking these positive steps can banish the when-will-I-hear blues and increase the chance for more publications. Commit to a writing goal such as submitting a story, article, or query every Friday or every other Friday. That way when the acceptance (or rejection) from your last submission comes, you already have other work under consideration.

After you submit your story or manuscript, enjoy a glass of iced tea or a cup of coffee but get right back to work. Don’t wait for a raving response or glowing acceptance. Just move on to the next project and keep those submissions in circulation. When faced with The Wait, just say no.

Marylane Wade Koch has over 30 years of experience in writing, editing, speaking, coaching, and consulting. Koch has authored numerous articles and several healthcare books. She is a contributor to publishers such as Elsevier-Mosby, Harcourt Health Sciences, Delmar/Thompson-Cengage, F.A.Davis, Jones and Bartlett, and Salem Press. She is a contributor to the Chicken Soup anthology series. Koch serves as President of Byhalia Christian Writers and conference faculty for American Christian Writers. She is a member of the American Medical Writers Association and the Mississippi Writers Guild. She serves as adjunct faculty at the University Of Memphis.



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