_____ is the hardest part.

I write something. I am proud, if not of the work itself, than at least of my own productivity. I send the little miracle toddling into the world, to seek shelter in the hands of an editor.

I wait. And while I wait, I tell myself that this is the hardest part.

I have nine stories making the rounds right now, which for me is a lot. With so many of them, I feel like every day I should be hearing from one market or another. I am not arrogant enough to expect them all to find homes, but I crave responses nonetheless. Go ahead, reject me, but don’t leave me in suspense. Oh, the waiting is the hardest part.

When I started writing more speculative and less “literary” fiction, I was excited by the short response times in genre markets. I thought my days of six-month waits for form rejections were over, and I was happy to trade the shotgun approach of simultaneous submissions for a quick bullet to the head.

But so far this year my average response time is 30 days. Pending submissions average 54 days out as of today. Yikes!

Then, inevitably, a response comes in. It says thanks but no thanks. I am sad. Surely this rejection must be the hardest part?

What is hardest for me, it seems, is actually getting to work. I get into a pattern of waiting, and waiting is a holding pattern: inactive. NOT waiting is the hardest part. So, I’d better go get to work.

Here I go.

No, really.

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