The Waiting is the Hardest Part (Or the Response Time Blues…)

First of all, like the new layout? I’m impressed by it. I’m trying out a new theme and it’s a lot cleaner than the old one. I think I’ll keep this one for a while.

I found it while I was at a loss on what to do after I checked my email. I’ve been in an email checking frenzy as of late. Normally, I’m pretty good with checking email just three times a day–I usually just download it all at once than just letting it trickle in every 15 minutes or so. Deal with all of it at one time. That was my philosophy.

But ever since I’ve been sending manuscripts out, I find myself checking my emails more than three times a day. Sometimes five times, six. I think yesterday, I checked it a total of twelve times. It’s not that I’m reading all the emails that come in. Most of it is from my email lists, which you can check out on the blogroll. No, I’m looking for email to come in on my gmail account.

That’s the account that I send my manuscripts out on.

The writing experts say to give your submission time. To not send a follow-up email immediately after, saying “Did you get my story yet? Huh? Did you? Did you? I haven’t heard from you in ten minutes. Please? Just let me know if you got my story. And if you did, did you like it? Did you like it?” Of course you don’t do that. Not only does that show your lack of experience in submitting manuscripts, but that’s also guaranteed to have your precious story of yours automatically deleted.

(Hold on…”Channel Z” by B52s is playing on WXRT. Gotta dance for a moment…)

But there’s the opposite end of the scope. You send a story and wait…and wait…and wait…Soon, the expected response time the market had posted on its website had come and gone, and you’re still waiting to hear back from them. Did they like it? Are they agonizing over it? Is it still buried at the bottom of the slush pile? Did they even get it, or did it get lost in cyberspace somewhere? I don’t like the image of being a housebound wallflower sitting nervously by the phone, wringing her hands and muttering, “Why doesn’t he call? I gave him my number a week ago. Does he like me? Does he care? Why won’t he call me? Why? Why?”

Whoa…actually, now that I think about it, I was that housebound wallflower many, many times…I didn’t think that I would have to deal with that unpleasantness again now that I’m married. (Why haven’t they gotten back to me? I sent my story over three months ago. Didn’t they like it? Don’t they care? Why haven’t they gotten back to me?! Why?! WHY?!)

Writing experts tell you to keep yourself busy so you don’t spaz over waiting for a manuscript. The only way to cure watching email closely is to get more stories out there. To work on another project. And it does work. It spurs me on to get more of my work out there. It’s just that for me, working on projects is so slow! I want to get my work out there right now! I don’t want to revise and tweak until it’s perfect. I don’t want to wait for feedback from readers. I want to get an idea, write it out, spellcheck and BOOM! Send it out. I want get my stuff out NOW! NOW! NOW!

Yeah, that’s another form of story suicide.

Being a writer certainly teaches one about patience. It takes time to get a story written. I know many writers who can crank stories out every week. I’m not one of those writers (at least, not yet). When I write a story, I want to make sure that it is at its best form when I send it out. If it means that I spend extra time on it, then so be it. (On the flip side, you can tweak and tweak and tweak a story and never send it out. I need to work on that. It’s all about balance, you know.)

And there’s patience in waiting for a market to get back to you. I like to think that when my work sails into a market, it comes in on winged clouds with the spotlight of God right on it accompanied by a heavenly angel choir singing, “This is the greatest story in the Woooooorld…” Yeah, reality’s not that kind. Nowadays, markets are swamped, completely swamped with stories that come in every day. A market could receive up to 300 stories on one day alone. So that’s why they say to wait for them to get back to you. And if they don’t, sometimes they can be swamped. I usually wait an extra week to a month, depending on the market, to send a follow up email.

And so far, it’s good. I get a polite email back saying that they’ll get back to me soon. Please be patient. I only had one place say, “Story? What story? We didn’t get a story from you.” And I had one other place who didn’t respond at all. I did my first story withdrawal yesterday with that one.

Patience is the key. Yeah, I hate saying it, even hate hearing it, but that’s the fact. Be patient. Give the story time. Markets will get back to me. And, in a sense, this is preparing me for when I send out Willow. 1-3 month response times aren’t nothing when compared to book publishers, where those can take an entire year to respond.

So I guess I’ll keep on writing. Keep sending stuff out. And hanging in there. Writing stuff and sending it out is easy. It’s the waiting that’s the hardest part.

One Response

  1. You’ll have to let me know which one you sent out. I love the new layout.

    And you all have a tab.


    I want a tab.


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