The Waiting Game

The Waiting Game

Navigating the Submission Process with Patience and Persistence

Submitting your writing to literary magazines, publishers, or contests is an essential step in a writer’s journey. It’s a thrilling moment when you hit the “send” button, sharing your carefully crafted work with the world. However, what comes next can be a test of your patience and resilience: the waiting game. In this blog post, we’ll explore the challenges of waiting for responses to your writing submissions and offer strategies to navigate this period with grace and determination.

Understanding the Waiting Game

Before we delve into strategies for navigating the waiting times, it’s essential to understand why they exist. Literary magazines and publishing houses receive a vast number of submissions, often far more than they can handle. This leads to significant waiting times as editors and reviewers meticulously assess each piece.

Waiting times can vary from a few weeks to several months or even longer. During this period, writers experience a rollercoaster of emotions, from excitement and hope to anxiety and self-doubt. However, it’s crucial to remember that waiting is an integral part of the writing and publishing process.

Strategies for Navigating the Waiting Times

  1. Stay Organised: The submission process can become overwhelming, especially if you have multiple pieces out for consideration. Keep a detailed record of where and when you’ve submitted your work, including submission deadlines and expected response times.
  2. Distract Yourself: The more you obsessively check your email for responses, the longer the waiting times can feel. Distract yourself with other writing projects, hobbies, or activities that bring you joy and keep your mind off the waiting game.
  3. Set Realistic Expectations: Understand that rejection is part of the process. Even accomplished writers face rejection numerous times before achieving success. Rejections are not a reflection of your worth as a writer; they are a natural part of the publishing journey.
  4. Keep Writing: Waiting for responses is an excellent opportunity to focus on your writing craft. Use this time to start new projects, revise existing ones, or explore different genres. The act of writing itself is a source of fulfilment and growth.
  5. Seek Feedback: If you receive rejection letters that provide feedback, consider it a valuable opportunity to improve your work. Use constructive criticism to help refine your writing and increase your chances of acceptance in the future.
  6. Network and Connect: Engage with writing communities, attend literary events, and connect with fellow writers. Sharing your experiences with others who understand the waiting game can provide support and encouragement.
  7. Set Milestones: Rather than fixating on the ultimate outcome, set smaller milestones for yourself. Celebrate each submission, revise a certain number of pages, or aim to submit a specific number of pieces within a timeframe. These milestones can help maintain your motivation.
  8. Stay Positive: Cultivate a positive mindset. Remember why you write in the first place—because you love it. Hold onto your passion for writing, and let it be your driving force, regardless of the waiting times or rejections.
  9. Prepare for Acceptance: While waiting, it’s essential to be prepared for the possibility of acceptance. Be ready to respond promptly to acceptance emails with any required materials, bios, or acknowledgements.
  10. Stay Patient and Persistent: Patience and persistence are key qualities for a writer. Continue submitting your work, even if it means enduring more waiting times. Every submission is a step closer to your goals.


Navigating the waiting times of writing submissions can be challenging, but it’s an essential part of the journey to becoming a published writer. Embrace the waiting periods as opportunities for growth, reflection, and improvement. Remember that your worth as a writer is not defined by any rejections you receive. Each submission brings you one step closer to success. Stay patient, stay persistent, and above all, stay true to your passion for writing. Ultimately, the waiting game is a test of your dedication and resilience, and with time, your efforts will be rewarded.

Why not develop your writing skills whilst you wait? Check out our Writing Courses here!