When You Receive a Pass: Ways to Cope and Keep Going

You poured your heart and soul into your manuscript. It took weeks, months, years to get it just right. Then after doing research, you’ve found the perfect agent, the one that fits just right. And you press submit! A mix of excitement and worry hits you simultaneously. Did I spell their name right? Did I make any typos!? Did I send the right document? After some deep breathing (and perhaps checking your already sent work) you’re ready for the next part. Waiting.

How to keep busy when waiting to hear back from an agent, editor, or writing contest.

Write. Staying busy helps distract us from the waiting game. Maybe use all of your nervous energy and convert it into a new story, blog post, or poem. Critique someone else’s work, watch a webinar. These all allow you to stay creative and productive. Allow yourself to write what your mood feels like.


Take a brain break! Do something unrelated. Get out into nature. Take a walk, run, have a cup or tea/coffee outside in your backyard or local park. Call friends that you haven’t talked to in a while. Or read a book! This is how I became encouraged to write in the first place. And going back to ENJOYING just reading a book for all of its goodness has always been a good decision.

After all the waiting, you finally hear back from the agent/editor/contest and it’s a no. UGH. Let’s sit with these feelings for a bit because it’s okay to admit how hard it is! It’s disappointing, discouraging, and does hurt because our writing is us, our hard work, our heart, and our thoughts. It feels personal – but remember they aren’t rejecting YOU as a person. They are PASSING on a project that isn’t right for them, that they aren’t 100% passionate about. Would you want an agent that didn’t feel like they could represent your work? Of who wasn’t as in love with it, and didn’t see it for all of its goodness? No, of course not. BUT that doesn’t make the “no” any easier.

This, my friends, is the hardest part of writing for me. I write heart books, books that deal with big feelings and situations for little children. Because to children, these feelings ARE big, and they don’t have the coping strategies to deal with them. I write to help them see that these feelings are okay, and hopefully bring their grownup and them closer together. So when I’ve poured my heart into these books, a “pass” really stings. Is it easy to keep going? No. But I couldn’t imagine not writing. Even if that means years (yikes) of passes. Because these stories matter to me. And hopefully one day, they’ll matter to children.

So take heart my friends. Know I am feeling the sting right along with you. You can always reach out to me and I promise to help any way I can. I wish you luck on your writing journey. Stay strong!

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