Updated August 2023
If you’re reading this, it’s possible you’re dealing with a serious bout of writing submission fatigue. Writing submission fatigue is a common enemy of both the new and the experienced writer. You’ve probably spent hours and hours (and hours!) researching where to submit—and just as important, where not to submit—your poetry, short prose, personal essay, novel or memoir. And once you make the submissions, guess what? You get to start all over again selecting the best markets, eliminating those you shouldn’t use, tracking where you’ve already submitted and are still waiting for a response, etc., etc., etc. It’s no wonder you’re exhausted! At Writer’s Relief, our submissions specialists have a few tips on how to overcome writing submission fatigue, reenergize the process, and boost your odds of getting an acceptance!
Tips To Help You Overcome Writing Submission Fatigue
Read literary journals. Writers love to read, so this is a no-brainer! But it serves a double purpose. You get to take a break from sending out submissions by reading something you enjoy—but you also get a feel for the type of work that literary journal publishes. Even book authors should check out literary journals, since these offer opportunities to publish excerpts. And if you find a journal you like and that matches your writing style, you’ll be more excited about sending a submission. Bonus: Subscribing to literary journals supports their efforts to keep publishing!
Change the scenery. Combat writing submission fatigue by changing your surroundings. Move to a different room or a space with a different view. Maybe you can work from the porch or balcony for some fresh air and a changing landscape. Even just sprucing up your workspace can help you feel refreshed and ready to settle in and make your submissions.
Do something else. If you can’t bear to read one more submission guideline, it’s time to switch gears. Take a working break and think about another task instead of the details of submitting your writing. Step away from the computer and check something else off your to-do list: Clean the kitchen, go grocery shopping, mow the lawn, or just take out the trash. When you return to making submissions, you’ll feel refreshed and ready to focus.
Take a break—full stop. Relax and do something fun—or do nothing at all! Exercise and release some mood-boosting endorphins. Listen to music, watch a movie, spend time with friends and loved ones, or meditate. You could even create your own mini writing retreat.
Get some sleep! This may seem obvious, but it needs to be said. For many writers with day jobs, the only time to write or make submissions is during late-night sessions fueled by copious amounts of caffeine. However, this is a surefire way to end up too fatigued to actually write consistently or make your submissions on a regular schedule. If the only time you can make your writing submissions is at 2:00 a.m., try to plan for a day when you can sleep in after burning the midnight oil. A good night’s sleep will enhance your memory and improve your writing skills.
Keep to a schedule. Determine a time frame for researching and making submissions that suits you, your life, and how often you write. At Writer’s Relief, our clients send out submissions every two months. Having a schedule will help you be more consistent about making your submissions, which is the key to getting an acceptance. The publishing industry rule of thumb for a very well-written piece is to make 100 carefully-targeted submissions for every acceptance.
And when you’re not scheduled to make submissions—don’t. If all you do in your downtime is research and submit, you’ll roll into another slump.
Stay organized. With only so many hours in a day, being organized is key to managing your submission strategy effectively in order to avoid fatigue. You can use a spreadsheet on your computer or an old-school paper filing system to keep your submissions organized. Note the literary agent or journal name, date sent, work sent, rejections, acceptances, and any comments.
Keep your literary agent and literary journal research organized and up to date by tracking the agents’ and editors’ names, reading dates, preferred submission method (email or submission manager software), and any theme issues for journals. Eliminate any markets that are totally inappropriate for your writing so you don’t waste time reviewing them again. Make note of any markets that fall into the “maybe” category and check on them regularly to see if they develop any potential.
Hire experts to do the busywork for you. The best way to avoid writing submission fatigue is to have experienced professionals do the research and busywork for you. At Writer’s Relief, we’ve been helping writers make targeted, more effective submissions for over twenty-eight years! And our strategies work: Our clients have received over 23,500 acceptances—and counting. We focus on the research and preparing your submission and cover/query letter; all you have to do is write. We can even make the submissions for you! To learn how we can help you combat submission fatigue, send your writing sample to our Review Board today.
If you want to get published, it’s important to fight writing submission fatigue. Feeling worn out and too exhausted by the process will only result in you making fewer submissions in a scattershot manner. Instead, follow these simple steps to overcome writing submission fatigue and stay on track to getting more acceptances!
Question: How do you overcome writing submission fatigue?