I understand some of the problems of the editors to whom we shove off our little underdeveloped literary offspring--they have only so many hours in their days; they never heard of you, so your spot on the priority list drops to the end; a look at the page suggests the blocks and divisions aren't what the poetry editor wants to see; or if it's prose, there's a punctuation goof; or maybe we live at an address with a host of biases attached for that particular editor, (who can't stand Yankees or Californians) but darn it! Why can't they say a quick "No" and let us off the tightrope? Thanks to those who do take the trouble! When they say they respond in two to four weeks, couldn't they take the time to send an email after six?
One of the worst things about these non-responses is that if the recipients of the story or poem or article really would like more of what they do like, it would be useful to the writers to know what that is in the context of what they've sent. I understand it's hard to put in "guidelines" descriptions both exact and free enough to narrow the number of applicants for a place on their pages, but once we've given up hope of an advanced degree or a place at the Iowa Writers Workshop, or what have you, wouldn't it be great to get help we can afford?
And don't start with "join a writers' group, attend conferences, take a class, " etc. because somewhere in the description for this site, I'm sure I mentioned aging as one of its concerns. A writer's group of 15 or 20 is not for me, nor is one that meets at night (unless it's within ten blocks of home), nor one whose members' interests I haven't a clue about; I don't have time! I can't afford workshops, tempting as they sound. I have to go back to what got me writing in the first place: reading. Then I try again.
If there's an editor out there (and probably there isn't), I just wish s/he would send off some kind of reply, even without a comment (I understand--you don't have time), but just don't leave us hanging! We already know that asking to be paid for our work is probably too much to ask.
What do you strugglers do? And I know about forgetting about it and sending it out again. Thank heaven for the Internet and those who accept online submissions! Postage, paper, envelopes, and ink would have bankrupted me by now without it.