15 Things You Think After Submitting To A Literary Journal, Because Waiting To Hear Back Feels Like An Eternity

If you've ever written a short story, a poem, or personal essay, you've probably thought at least once or twice about publishing it somewhere. The world needs your particular brand of brilliance, y'know? Maybe you're in a creative writing program, where the pressure of publication is like a constant thumb on a wound. Or perhaps you're trying to build your resume or CV (publications look great for query letters!), or you simply want something tangible to show Grandma that you're a capital W Writer. Whatever the reason, there's great merit and esteem behind publication. Even in the digital age, there's no shortage of great online presses that are bursting with talent (and potentially your shiny new story!).

Still, submitting your work to a literary journal can be a nerve-wracking process. Is your piece good enough? Did you choose the right places to submit? Is your cover letter charming, but not too long or pretentious? How can you stand out from the slush pile? Does it need one more revision? Can they take any longer getting back to me? You're not alone in your manic thoughts. If you're like me, these thoughts, along with many others below, have all swirled around your head at one point during the dreadful waiting period that comes after submitting to a literary journal:

Submission successful! I'm gonna have some wine and maybe some ice cream because I EARNED IT

You go, girl. That's the stuff. You rock.

I should submit more. That wasn't too bad

It's really just some paperwork, honestly. Be brave!

Do you think they might send the acceptance by the next morning?

Hey, you never know. I'll just leave my email open all day in case they need to contact me.

I wonder what the editor thought when she opened the email and read my story...

Did she gasp at the end? Did she think my characters were funny?

Ugh, she got an acceptance before me? She just sent that out. How is that possible?

It's just not fair!

Yep, I'm rejected. Just tell me already and get it over with.

Why drag this out any longer than it has to be?

Seriously, this has been the slowest two months of my life.

I keep thinking about you, submission. Why aren't you thinking about me?

Am I just wasting my time?

I'm not even getting paid for this. Why don't I just watch Netflix all day instead?

Maybe my submission got lost. Should I send a follow-up email?

But I don't want to be that person. I'll just keep waiting it out.

"You've been approved" credit card email subjects are giving me a heart attack

Don't scare me like that, Chase!

Is it too late to withdraw the submission?

I don't need them to tell me it needs more work. I know that.

Finally seeing re:submission in your inbox


If accepted: YAY!

I did it? Oh yeah, I did it! Time to update my Facebook status!

If rejected: ugh, whatever.

I mean duh, I knew that. Time to start a rejection jar and slowly fill it with quarters!

Remembering that you can always self-publish

Sure, it's not given the same respect, but at this point, is respect even an issue?

Images: Maria Morri/Flickr; Giphy (15)