Pull back the curtain and see how a suspense writer puts the thrills and chills together.

 Ah, the sound of silence.
It’s great when I’m writing, but it’s not so great for my writing, if you know what I mean.
I used to think rejections were the worst part of being a writer, but now I know that’s not true.
Silence is worse.
I’m talking about a complete, total lack of response.
Did the editor or agent receive my query? Are they too busy to read it, or should I take their deafening silence as a no? Are they taking the summer off?
Do they…gasp…actually have lives?
Pitching to magazines has been the toughest challenge so far. I knew writing for more prominent publications would take time, and that I’d have to pitch, pitch, pitch.
I expected rejection letters, and lots of them, but what I didn’t expect was silence.
Out of fifteen pitches, I’ve heard back from two editors. One was a positive response, thankfully (I may be writing for her in the fall!), and one was referring me to another editor. At least I know that email went through.
I’m a bit staggered by this, I must admit. Form letters are starting to look really good to me. At least I know where I stand when I receive one of those.
Lately this has been getting to me, more than it probably should. I’ve been wondering what it’s all for, and if there’s any point at all to submitting my work, when it’s way too early to ask those questions.
I’ve always been incredibly honest on this blog, and I’m not going to start lying now. Sometimes it’s really difficult to keep going, to keep trying. I’ve had moments when I’ve seriously wondered if I’m cut out for this writing thing. I’m afraid that it might take more strength and perseverance than I have to succeed.
This blog has been pretty quiet too, and combined with the lack of response to my submissions and pitches, that’s a whole lotta silence. If I lived by an ocean, I’d be screaming into it by now. (I’ve heard that’s a thing.)
 Has anyone else experienced this kind of silence? How did you keep going when you were feeling completely defeated? If anyone reading this freelances for prominent magazines, I’d love to know whether or not this is normal.
Hello darkness, my old friend….
Thanks for reading!
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  1. G.R. LeBlanc

    I don’t have a lot of advice, but just wanted to say that writing for magazines is hard. I submit mostly to children’s magazines, and I pretty much gave up on it for about two years. The waiting can be absolutely crazy and the competition is fierce. I’ve had submissions out for over a year in some places, then some places will only respond if they want to publish your piece, which I absolutely hate and find unprofessional. It’s not right to be kept wondering if they even got your submission in the first place. I get they are uber busy, but still, we work hard on our submissions and I think we deserve at least an acknowledgement that our piece was received. So yeah, I get what you’re going through. *hugs* ~ Gisele

    • Holli Moncrieff

      Thanks, Gisele. I have a ton of ideas to pitch, but it seems right to get a “no” before I send another story idea to the same editor. I’ve even sent follow-ups to some and not heard back. I agree–I find it really unprofessional as well.

      Thanks for sharing your experience.

  2. Frank Powers

    I hate waiting. I’d much rather be rejected than be left to wonder. When I do have to wait for a response, not necessarily for writing but for all things, I have to make a deliberate effort to distract myself. It works for a very short time.

    What really does the trick for me is to accept the cliche “it is what it is,” to embrace that not knowing is something I have no choice but to live with. I can make myself crazy or I can realize that I’ve done all I can and just live life normally. Far easier said than done but it can help.

    • Holli Moncrieff

      Thanks, Frank. Sometimes I can handle this okay, but other times I can’t. I’ll try your trick. Thanks for sharing it–much appreciated.

      Not knowing is the worst!

  3. G.R. LeBlanc

    Oh, actually, the best piece of advice I’ve ever heard though is to immediately focus on writing something else. Put the submission/query out of your mind, but of course, that is often easier said than done. 😉

    • Holli Moncrieff

      It is good advice. I’m always writing something else, and usually that does help, but sending out a bunch of pitches and queries and hearing nothing for a while started to get to me. Some days are definitely tougher than others.

      Good advice, though. Thank you.

  4. Rhonda Parrish

    I don’t freelance for prominent magazines, but I definitely know the pain of silence. Especially on blogs LoL It can be so discouraging, especially when I look at stats and see that people have popped by, but they haven’t said anything. Though, actually, I guess that’s just a different kind of discouraging than when I’m waiting to hear from an editor/publisher/agent/author.

    I’m planning on moving next to an ocean in a couple years, maybe I’ll try the screaming thing, see if that helps…

    • Holli Moncrieff

      Please let me know if it does, Rhonda. Thanks for sympathizing! I’ve been checking in with your blog, but haven’t had much to add to the zombie conversation. If I can ever contribute something meaningful, I certainly will. I have my eye on it!

    • Holli Moncrieff

      Sorry to hear. It’s kind of a crappy page to be on. Thanks for commenting!

  5. Stephanie Faris

    Silence is definitely part of it. I find it’s best to send things off and move onto something else. It can take MONTHS and it never gets easier. The more things you have out there, the more chances you’ll hear back on something eventually! It’s never good to send something off and sit and wait. That’s just torture!

    • Holli Moncrieff

      Thanks so much for commenting, Stephanie. It was getting lonely over here. Summer is tough on this poor little blog.

      Don’t worry–I’m still submitting other stories weekly, and whenever I get a rejection, out goes another query letter. I think I have 40 things out on submission right now. That’s why the silence is getting to me–I’m pretty impatient! I want things to happen NOW. Ha! I know–not gonna happen.


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