It’s never easy, when you’ve worked hard on a piece and agonised over every last detail, to then have to wait what feels like an age for a response from agents, publishers, editors or competition co-ordinators. We’ve been through it! So we thought we would compile our Top Tips for waiting for a response!
Keep a record. The worst thing, after you’ve submitted something, is then forgetting when you did it and how long the response time should be. Most people of organisations will have an estimated response time (normally for agents and publishers it’s 8 weeks) and competitions will have a closing date and a date to announce all of their shortlisted entries. Get into the habit of making a note, whenever you enter or submit a piece of writing, of when you submitted it and what the estimated response time is. I find it best if I note it down in my calendar; I normally work out the estimated response date and put all the submission details in an entry on that day so I know when I should have heard back. You can also use applications such as Excel to create a spreadsheet with all your current, past and future submissions and their dates.
Don’t constantly check your inbox. The same goes for the competition or organisation website. As tempting as it is to sit, refreshing your inbox in the hopes of a response appearing, it will only serve to bring you down. Make checking your emails part of your daily routine instead; check it once a day and then leave it until the next day. As for the website page, they’re unlikely to post anything until after submissions have closed, so obsessively monitoring their page is not going to benefit you. Again, restrict yourself to once the competition has closed.
Plan ahead. Instead of focussing on the piece you just submitted, focus on any upcoming pieces you need to write or submissions you want to submit to. Make a list or a plan so that you can focus your energy on moving forward with your writing, rather than hanging back and mulling over past submissions. Not only will it help distract you but continually moving forward with submissions will improve your writing and get your name out there! So it’s a win win!
We know it won’t always be the easiest thing to follow, and waiting can be difficult, especially if you’re impatient like I am! But hopefully our #TuesdayTopTips will help take some of the pressure off. Plus, if you’re looking for a new submission, our PBR7 submissions are currently open! The theme for PBR7 is ‘Waiting’ and submissions close on the 30th November. You can enter prose, poetry, creative non-fiction, scripts etc as long as the comply with the guidelines on our competition page: https://www.thestudentwordsmith.com/shop/issue-7-waiting-call-for-submissions/
Send all submissions to email@example.com with the subject line Submission: Waiting. We can’t wait to see what you come up with!