I’m doing a terrible job of distracting myself, so I don’t focus on the fact that someone at this very moment is holding my manuscript. I’m not naive enough to think they will be reading it any time soon, just knowing they have it is nerve wrecking enough. Here are the top ten things I’m doing to torture myself while I wait.
1. Rereading the manuscript (oh god, oh no, oh no, oh no). Is it too late to recall?
2. Phoning people and unconvincingly babbling about how I won’t be terribly crushed if I’m rejected. Here is just a partial list of some of the lucky recipients: my mother, my partner, my publisher, a teacher, an ex, a half a dozen lovely writing friends and a prickly writer – or just a prick. Probably should call a priest too. I’m rambling. I’m incoherent. I’m laughing. I’m doing a motor mouth 220 mph. I’m in need of good tranquilizer, rhino-strength should do it. Most people have been nice and patient. Except the ex. He’s just awful.
3. Checking my email non-stop. Did I mention I recently unsubscribed to every newsletter I’ve ever signed up to in order to free up clutter? No one is writing. Probably because I keep calling them. I keep looking. Nada. The last time my inbox was this empty was 1996. I feel like Lily Allen waiting for the Orange Prize people to invite her back.
4. Writing one of the agents back and saying: Er, you know this is a first draft, right? I know, I know. Please don’t tell me how silly I’ve been. I am wincing. I may just email again before the day is over. You still like me right? I mean the last thing I said didn’t throw you off?
5. Checking agent blogs and finding out that everything they advise not to do, I’ve done. Agh!
6. Reading smug writers who have the foresight to do all the right things, in the right order at the right time. I hate you. Double AGH!
7. Praying. Let me say I probably stand a better chance of being picked up by annoyed agent mentioned above than being listened to by a literary loving, non-denominational deity.
8. Biting my nails.
9. Seriously considering that PhD after all. What is five years when you have an eternity to spend teaching?