It can take ages for a screenplay to become a film and of course a lot of times the production never happens. Nick Hornby, whose most recent adaptation is Wild, starring Reese Witherspoon, deals with it by using the time in between to write his novels.
An article written by Joe Berkowitz for fastcreate.com points out, "what once seemed like a dealbreaking burden [the delays] has turned into a boon for the prolific author's productivity."
Yes, he does have the advantage of being a best-selling novelist and Academy Award-nominated (for An Education) screenwriter, but I think there's a useful lesson in there for the rest of us as well, namely to figure out how to make the downsides of the business part of our craft work for us rather than against us.
Hearing back from agents and publishers can take just as long as the gaps and delays experienced by screenwriters. I think the lesson is to have another project ready to go when we send one out into the real world...which also helps cut down on the amount of time we spend thinking about the first project's fate!