I call it that because I seem to have spent an inordinate amount of time in the last few years waiting to hear something...anything....from anyone.
I'm currently in limbo about a project, waiting waiting waiting to hear what to do with it. For me this is nerve-wracking (due to other circumstances related to the timing of this issue.) I'm not good at waiting, particularly not if I'm not getting any kind of response out of the people involved. But it's part of the job....
There are two factors here. 1) The Waiting, and 2) The Lack of Communication.
This is one of the things that sucks about being traditionally published. If you're going the traditional publication route, be prepared. You're going to wait. WAIT!
This may just seem like authors whining, but it's more than that. Every step to publication requires a wait. Submit to magazine, then wait. Get referred up to editor, then wait. Wait for rejection, or get sale, then wait for contract. Are there edits? Then you wait for approval at each stage of those. Send in contract, wait for publication. Somewhere around those last two, you're waiting for payment. Then you wait for reviews.
There -are- some publications out there that have a fast turnaround. But it's not many of them.
My personal record? 3+ years from initial submission to publication. I know people who've been waiting longer than that (I can think of two publications off hand who purchased stories -years ago- that have yet to see publication. They intend to publish them...they just haven't gotten the money together to get it worked out. Fortunately, I was rejected by both.)
Lack of Communication
The process is slow, and made all the more frustrating by the fact that it's not always easy to get a response from editors. You send a query about the story they've had for a year....you may get an answer, you may not. This is where having friends in the industry helps. They can tell you what their experiences with Publication X have been, to give you an idea if this is simply the norm....or something has gone terribly wrong. (Your submission was eaten by crocodiles, for example...)
So if someone didn't warn you about this part of the publication process, I'll tell you now:
It's slow. And a lot of the time you don't know what's happening. Get used to it.