There's a saying that goes something like 'good things come to those who wait.' There's also the phrase 'she has the patience of a saint.' We spend a large proportion of our lives just waiting: post office queue, doctor's waiting room, phone queues, check outs, you name it we wait for it. But one of the most frustrating kinds of waiting is the waiting we writers do for news about our submissions.
We get anxious and confused about how long we should wait, too, and what to do when we feel we've waited long enough. But it's nothing to worry about, really. There's no point in, for instance, trying to contact an editor a week after you've submitted something to them if their guidelines state they take 8 - 12 weeks to reply. I know it's tempting to try and find out earlier but all you'll end up doing is irritate the editor! If the magazine you're pitching/subbing to gives a time scale for responses then that's brilliant as you know what to expect. It's also easier, after that time has elapsed to contact the editor then, making inquiries as to the fate of your work because you can say you've waited the 12 weeks and heard nothing.
I know it's annoying when you're desperate to find out if an editor is going to take and publish your work, but it's part of a writers' lot. And we haven't even got to the wait between an editor accepting your work and then actually publishing it. The longest I've waited so far (and I'm still waiting) is two years, But I know of other writers who've waited a lot longer!
I also used to worry about sending my work to a magazine and that editor rejecting it after a long wait and opening up another magazine (the one I was going to send it to next) and seeing a similar article to mine in it. But I don't worry so much now. It's an occupational hazard and you can't really do much about it, other than revamp your version of the article (there's always a different angle) and send it out to the third or fourth magazine on your list. Where there's a will there's a way.
While you're waiting, it's a great opportunity to crack on with your next piece of writing.
Happy waiting and writing