Welcome to part two of Kate Mallinder’s series on RESILIENCE! 

In this post, I’m going to be looking at waiting – my personal nemesis. This is the bit I find hardest to handle but, after having done a fair bit of it over the last few years, I’ve got a few tried and tested strategies that help.

There’s lots of waiting involved in the publishing process; from waiting to hear from beta readers to agents, to editors, to early reviewers until finally your readers. It’s wise therefore to find ways to cope. I’ve been blogging for four years about waiting, over which time my stamina has certainly increased, with a few go-to strategies if it gets out of hand, but despite this, I still have days when I want to hibernate till the verdict is in.

First up, there is no right or wrong way. Sometimes you are waiting to hear about something you’re not that fussed about. Other times it is something you feel so passionately about it physically hurts. That’s okay. You’re human – it’s perfectly understandable to be excited about something you’ve poured your love and attention into. However, to live a life of waiting is miserable, so these are the ways I use to happily wait:

      I try to establish when I’m ‘likely’ to hear news. Beta readers often, if you ask nicely, will tell you when they’re planning to read and when they’re likely to email you. Agents often require 12 weeks, editors can be longer. If you have a book being published, you can find out when your proofs are going out. All this information helps you know when to expect news. Personally, I always add on some extra time. These are busy people and as someone recently said to me ‘over promising is epidemic’ in publishing. That made me laugh, but it’s true. Everyone is busy and no one deliberately leaves you waiting. If however the date comes and goes, you are allowed to politely follow it up.

     Try limiting how often you check your phone. I am truly awful at this, but when I do manage to leave my phone in another room for an hour or two it feels good.

     Distraction, distraction, distraction. Do anything you can to take your mind off it – sort out a cupboard, catch up on your filing, do your tax return. To make it more pleasurable, do things that you consider a treat – go out for lunch, to the theatre, to the cinema, meet friends. I went through a time of re-watching The West Wing. Fill your time, throw yourself whole-heartedly into the moment and enjoy yourself. You’ll feel nourished and your phone will keep track of anything you may have missed.

     The best distraction for me is reading. I use waiting time to catch up as I don’t read when I’m drafting or editing. I know this isn’t for everyone as someone else’s polished story can cause panic about your own. Do what suits you. This isn’t the time to add extra layers of angst to your life.

     If you are making that tricky step from writing as a hobby to taking it more seriously, then replacing the hobby gap in your life can help. It can be something that compliments your art or something completely different.

      If you can, work on the next thing. You will never regret it. But if you can’t, don’t worry about it.

     Chatting to other creators helps more than I can say – they get it, they’ve often been there and laughing about the tough bits is like balm to your submission-battered soul. Find your tribe.

      Keeping an eye on the best case scenario and worst case scenario can help keep your spirits up while remaining pragmatic. I find planning for a rejection helps. Being halfway through an exciting new project means a rejection hurts less.

      And lastly maybe an odd one … take time to celebrate! Celebrate the fact that you have created something out of nothing. That you got it to a stage that you were able to send it. That you were brave enough to share it. These are things to be proud of. Celebrate the fact that you are on this journey, bravely striding out into the unknown, and will keep going whatever comes your way.

Waiting isn’t something that will go away; the same is true of rejection. As long as you are writing or illustrating to be published, waiting and rejection are things that are guaranteed to happen regardless of how successful you are. The trick to resilience is finding ways to deal with these feelings and turn the waiting into a positive experience.

                                                                                  * Header image credit: Freepik / asier-relampagoestudio


Kate Mallinder is author of the upcoming Summer of No Regrets and a pro-waiter. Of the six years, she’s been writing, she reckons she’s been waiting more than half the time!

If you want to read more, Kate’s writing blog is Her brand new website is Or you can find her on Twitter:@KateMallinder and Instagram: kate.mallinder


  1. This is my all time nightmare i'm so terrible at waiting it's like torture so i try and keep myself as busy as possible, love that you wrote this I'm not alone!

  2. I also find waiting a nightmare (and one I'm currently in the middle of). As someone who works intensively on a single project at a time, I find it hard to come up for air or start something else. Of course, it's all in my head, but I find the waiting period very demotivating, so even when there's things I should be getting on with, I can't quite bring myself to do them.

    I must, and hopefully will get better at this waiting game. I do know from published friends that the shoe is sometimes on the other foot - you get proofs or edits from a publisher and suddenly they are waiting on you!

  3. I've committed to making sure I'm doing MORE waiting this year! I'm getting lots more stuff out there in the hopes that more stuff is successful, and that does mean I'm always waiting to hear back about something. I know with picture books it's a bit different as there are more of them, but I'm waiting back on different grant applications, too. And the flip side of hating waiting is that it's quite exhilarating, too, knowing that you're always in the process of waiting for something. But like you said, it can help to be in the middle of other things, too (for me that's crucial). But as well as feeling impatient, it also makes you feel alive and knowing that you're being really active in the thing that you love (but I've still checked my inbox more than I should today, just in case...). Thanks for the post! x


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