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The Hack’s Guide to Playing the Waiting Game


Warning: Hacks for Hacks tips may have harmful side effects on your writing career, and should not be used by minors, adults, writers, poets, scribes, scriveners, journalists, or anybody.

Congrats on submitting your manuscript! But the euphoria of finally sending your work to an agent or editor is quickly replaced by the anxiety over its fate. You poured a lot of hours and skipped a lot of TV to finish it, and some faraway gatekeeper could render that effort moot with a single email—or they could accept it and provide you with the validation and recognition you surely deserve. You thought writing was tough? Now you get to live with the agony of ambiguity one second at a time for the next 120 days or so.

You don’t have to live like this. A watched pot never boils, and a fixated-upon manuscript submission never gets a response. I came up with that ultra-catchy saying while waiting to hear back from an editor about a story. I felt so good about putting my nervous energy to good use that it barely stung when the editor sent me a form rejection letter. You too can experience this edifying feeling by employing these handy suggestions on how to spend your time when waiting for a publication decision.

How do you like to spend your time when you’re waiting to hear about a submission? Share your ideas in the comments!

About Bill Ferris [5]

After college, Bill Ferris [6] (he/him) left Nebraska for Florida to become a rich and famous rock star. Failing that, he picked up the pen to become a rich and famous novelist. He now lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and looks forward to a life of poverty and ridicule.