Waiting For Rejection…Or Selection!

As Writers, We Spend A Lot of Time Waiting

Tomorrow, after weeks and weeks, the mentees for PitchWars 2018 will be announced. I didn’t enter this year, but I have many friends who did. (Best of luck!)

Meanwhile, in the next week or so, I’ll find out if my panel submissions from last month, for World Fantasy Con, appealed to the schedule coordination team.

And sometime, in the short term future, I’ll hear back from the agent who requested my full (manuscript) a couple months ago.

You know? As a writer, I’ve pretty much always got at least one project going, or at least projects I could be working on. Even when I’m not in the middle of one story, I’m either planning my next story, editing my old ones, or beta-reading for my critique partners. So, you’d think with all this activity, I wouldn’t notice how much time I spend waiting.

Half in terror, half in hope. Will I be found worthy?

And, the strange part is, I’m a little bit scared either way.

It makes sense to fear rejection.

Rejection hurts.

Your work, that you’ve poured your hopes and dreams into for months or years has been measured, weighed, and found wanting.

It’s easy to blame:

  • your query
  • your writing
  • your plotting
  • your incorrect read on the actual tastes of the mentor/agent/Editor/etc you submitted to
  • or — you know — maybe it’s just the market

It can feel like you’re never going to find someone to believe in you–who can actually take you to that next level, careerwise.

For those panels I submitted? There are famous authors, professional editors of publishing houses, and quality agents on their panels.

  • What makes me feel that I’m qualified to talk as if I were an actual professional?
  • I didn’t know who to submit with me
    • maybe they won’t put my panel suggestions on the schedule because they don’t know who else to put on the panel
    • they’d rather not have a ‘panel’ turn into a lecture/Q&A session with a no name.

For those of you querying agents, I know your fears.

  • Silence
  • Form rejection letters
  • Requests from agents that leave the industry before responding
  • Rejected R&Rs (revise and resubmit letters)

But. There’s another side to our fears.

What If I *Am* Selected?

For those of you PitchWars hopefuls — the ones still clinging to hope — I know your fears.

  • What if you ARE selected and you can’t measure up?
  • Why you, when you see so many other talented writers that didn’t get selected?
  • What if you work as hard as you can, do everything you’re asked, and the agents still ignore you?

The mentor saw something in you, saw something they knew how to fix in your manuscript, and either way, your story will improve and you’ll have learned so much!

If you get an agent, I know those fears, too.

  • What if the agent can’t find a publisher?
  • What if you’ve chosen a bad agent who neglects you?
  • What if your agent doesn’t ‘get’ your story and tries to change it into something else?
  • What if your agent leaves the industry and you’re dumped back into the cold-query piles?

And for me? With those panels potentially at the end of the month?

  • What if I get up there and talk over all the experienced panelists?
    • (I know me. I wish I’d be tongue-tied, but I tend to babble when nervous)
  • What if I *am* the only panelist?
  • What if I can’t gather my thoughts and sound like a fool?
  • What if there are belligerent panelists who antagonize me?

It’s easy to make lists of fears. But eventually, most of them boil down to one thing, and one thing only:

Facing Impostor Syndrome

Getting to the next stage in our writing careers is a great recipe for Impostor Syndrome. And the only way past that is to fake-it-til-you-make-it.

Prepare as hard as you can, do your homework, and try your best.

And in the meantime, finish editing that thing you were working on.

Thanks for reading and wish me luck!

I’m wishing all of you the BEST of luck, with your PitchWars or agent or publisher queries and submissions.

P.S. Let me know I’m not alone in these fears, that I’m not just projecting my fears on the rest of you.


  1. I think Impostor Syndrome is more common than anyone would care to admit. I’ve gone through it in a variety of phases of life. Most recently, I’d done a podcast with Writers After Dark, discussing the ins and outs of editing (riveting, I know) and when it aired, I commented that it actually sounded like I knew what I was talking about. They were like, “Uhh, yeah, that’s why we asked you to be on the podcast. Because you DO know what you’re talking about.” It’s funny how we perceive ourselves so differently than others see us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So true. Every time we’re asked to do something new (or volunteer), every time we’re recognized for something we’ve been working hard to figure out, we look up and go “wait. Who? Me?”

      So, here I am, faking-it til I make it! And using that forward momentum to get me where I want to be.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. OH MY GOSH THIS IS ALL SO TRUE. cries in a corner I thought I was the only one who actually feared positive news. xD I have a full manuscript out, as well (been 31 days since it was sent … not that I’m counting or anything, of course …) and I’m not sure what makes me more terrified, the idea of being accepted or rejected.

    Imposter Syndrome is so hard, especially since I have both anxiety and high-functioning depression. So I’m a perfectionist by nature, which makes IS hit all the harder, because obviously I know I’m never going to be good enough to start with. Sometimes, I think my friends get annoyed at me when they tell me they like something I write and I don’t believe them (even though I know they’re not lying because they would 100% tell me, unabashedly, if they don’t like something and insist I fix it). But with anxiety, I’m already socially awkward and I literally cannot accept compliments. They make me incredibly uncomfortable. And then you throw the IS and depression in, and it’s not that I don’t believe them, it’s just that I can’t see it at all.

    But yes, ugh, waiting is SO HARD. And I have no attention span at all, which makes it even harder lol. Best of luck with both your full and your panel submission! I hope you get the response you want, whatever that might end up being. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s precisely because of all the damn waiting that I finally decided to self-publish. It’s so nice to take control!! Also, I haven’t got endless years left to spend in limbo, y’know?
    Good post!

    Liked by 1 person

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