As I write this, I am waiting to hear the outcome of yet another writing competition I entered several months back. As in, today is the announcement day. But have I been checking my email since last week at a rate only a crazy person would understand? Yes.

I gathered up a bunch of words I thought sounded good together and sent them into an abyss in which thousands and thousands of other words--whose creators thought the same of them--were submitted. And while I wait, I alternately cheer myself up and tear myself down.

It’s agony.

Here’s a sample inner monologue:

Angel Me: I think this is going to be it...third time’s a charm!

Devil Me: It’s your fourth time.

Angel Me: But this one is funny. Everyone said so.

Devil Me: You used bad words. You’re a bad writer.

Angel Me: Bad words are okay these days. They’re funny!

Devil Me: Then why didn’t you get an email yet. Did you check today?

Angel Me: Maybe they’re waiting until the last minute, right before they announce.

Devil Me: Right. They want to surprise you--like you’re a four-year-old getting a pony. 

Angel Me: Let me just check my email again...

Devil Me: If you haven’t heard by now...

This goes on ad nauseam in my poor brain. I make adjustments as the days go by. I haven’t heard yet because:

  • It’s a holiday
  • It’s the weekend
  • They’re afraid if they notify the winners too soon, they’ll be so happy they’ll give away the results on social media (I won’t! I promise!!)
  • They actually haven’t made a decision yet
  • They forgot to make a decision
  • Nobody won
  • Everyone won except me...


I don’t think I’m the only one who goes through this, but it can certainly feel like I am. Especially when one is on social media (because one has to be on social media if one wants her books to sell). There is actually a phenomenon that relates depression and envy to social media use. Searching Google Scholar for “Social Media Envy” reveals about 75,000 hits. I didn’t read them though because they’re all published authors--or winners--and it would be ironic to read any of those articles right now. When I see my fellow writers and authors proclaim their good fortune on social media, I am mostly happy for their successes. Actually, not mostly...always. Do I secretly wish it were me? Yup. Does it impair my happiness for them? No.

Even as I sit here and with my email inbox notification number stuck at 2 (I mean really. I usually get at least ten spam emails every 20 minutes) I know that whatever the outcome, at some point, I will gather up a bunch more words, order them in a humorous way, slap a clever title on the whole lot of them and send them off again. And again. And again. It’s part of the process of being a human. To go after the thing you want over and over. What’s that thing people say about doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results? It’s insanity?

Or maybe it’s just being a writer.  

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  • Michelle Cox

    Love this, Cindy!  Can so relate!

  • Patricia Robertson

    I don't spend a lot of time worrying about hearing back from a submission anymore. I just keep putting my writing out there and hope (and pray) for the best.