Waiting to Hear

One of the hardest things as a professor is waiting to hear whether or not someone is going to accept our work.

We’ve written it. We’ve wrestled with it, struggled with it, carried it up and down metaphorical (and sometimes actual) mountains, and then we’ve sent it off to someone else. After waiting hours, days, weeks, months, and sometimes years, we hear back.

With one chapter, which had a return deadline of Jan. 15, I was nervous. I spent the time I should have also been working on an R&R to get that chapter done on time. I didn’t hear anything by Jan. 15. Then by the end of January I was too nervous to wait. I wrote the editor and said, basically, “Well?” When I hadn’t heard anything in two weeks, I decided, this is awkward. Now when I see that wonderful woman, I’ll want to hide because my work was so poor that she is embarrassed to tell me it wasn’t accepted. (You’d think with dozens–two is dozens–of publications, I’d be a little more sure of myself, perhaps.) Then around Valentine’s Day the editor emailed that, like most of us, life had gotten ahead of her and her very ambitious–even I thought so and I can be the queen of turbo mode–schedule had broken down entirely. She told me it might be as much as another month before she is able to get back to me on my chapter. And I totally understand.

Tonight I went online to check on the status of a submission–a submission that took me two years to get up to doing, even though I’d done most of the work already; a submission that actually was even better than I thought it would be, by the time I finished filling out all the paperwork that went along with it. It’s still in review, though there is not a reviewer listed as reviewing it. In my profile, I’ve agreed to be a reviewer, though, of course, not of my own work. But they haven’t asked me to review anything and I wonder if they have submissions besides my own or if they’ve got so many that they don’t need reviews right now because they already have the texts for the next three or four issues.

Finally, there’s another article out. Technically it’s in R&R. They got back to me in a miraculously short period of time, a month, but I was up to my neck in reading for the chapter two paragraphs above. They asked if I intended to do the R&R and I said yes. My plan was to do it over the Christmas break. That, of course, was before my life went topsy turvy and I ended up with four family members in town rather than three.

I’ve got to get out two abstracts this week–both of which I’ve worked on a bit. And I have a paper to finish in the next two weeks, for a presentation. But I also would like to get to that R&R because I’m not the only one waiting to hear on articles. The editor of that journal is also waiting to hear…

It may not all get done by Saturday, since I have two big projects culminating on Saturday, but I hope to finish the revision by Tuesday, March 3. That’s my goal anyway.

Even if I’m still waiting to hear on the others, I can get that one moving again.

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