So you did it. You landed your dream agent, they love you, your book, and the laptop you wrode in on (Wrode = rode, get it? Heehee. Okay, you are looking at writer’s brain up close and personal right here people.). So you’ve made a few revisions and that baby sparkles like a vegetarian vampire in sunlight. (Um yeah, couldn’t resist and it just never gets old! LOL)
So then your agent shows you a list of editors and imprints. When you wake up from your fainting spell, you double check to make sure you weren’t dreaming. Then wipe the drool off your chin and sit back with a cold one, imagining all the ways you’ll spend that cool million headed your way.
After your brain can’t process anymore imaginary trips around the world fighting off adoring fans who have tattooed your name on their bu…well you get the idea. Anyway, then it sinks in somewhere around drink number 5 that EDITORS ARE READING YOUR BOOK. Important editors. The ones who publish your all time very favorite book OF ALL TIME. *cue more fainting followed by the same feeling you had when you ate 3-day old take-out from that questionable Chinese place down the street.*
So, you very methodically devise a freak-out plan. Written down, it requires little effort to follow. You can even post it on your fridge.
Without further ado, I introduce to you my personal list of how I have survived being on sub thus far. (Okay, I admit I’m only on week 7, so I have yet to reach the Higher Level of Angst and Worry which I have heard about from veteran authors.)
1. Vodka. The advantage is that it is colorless and odorless. You can fill your reusable water bottle and no one will know the difference. I recommend not indulging while writing though. Vodka has this strange ability to make you think you are being brilliant when no one but a fluent Pig-Latin interpreter could understand what you wrote.
2. Chocolate. It’s a proven fact that it is an endorphin, and if your brain is running around acting like a 4-year-old on Smarties, well then it won’t remember to angst. A constant steady stream is best to avoid the post-endorphin crash, which could drive you to sit in a corner, rocking back and forth, mumbling something about vodka.
3. Start a new book. That’s a popular one. In theory, this is supposed to take your mind off the book out there in Editorlandia, but really all it does is reinforce the voice in your head telling you that YOU SUCK. You fight past it, open Word, format the page and even type Chapter One. Then the cursor mocks you until you resort to number 1 AND 2 combined.
**Visit Kristin Miller's recent blog post about suckage. It’s awesome.
4. E-mail your agent every five minutes asking if you secretly suck and should you just go ahead and rewrite the entire book now instead of waiting because it has to suck and then wonder if your agent really meant to call you that day or if he/she was on heavy cough meds and dialed a wrong number. Generally your agent will assure you that they dialed the right number (Man, I hope so, cause how awkward would THAT conversation be! Agent-No actually, I meant to call another author. You do suck.) And not to tear apart the book just yet until they get some feedback. I’d recommend sending some vodka and chocolate next day air to your agent before you begin the e-mail barrage. Then at least you’ll both be on the same page.
5. Hang out with your pets, kids, significant other, friends, or a stranger at the Post Office and generally express all your angst about this entire process, including detailed verbiage of potential revisions and ask their opinion every five seconds. A word of advice: your pet will listen to you whine for hours as long as you scratch behind their ears while you talk. (Not that I know from personal experience or anything. And no, I don’t have 2 dogs and 3 cats specifically for angst related outbursts like this.)
** Your significant other may react the same way as your pet, but maybe try buttering them up with Vodka and chocolate first. It does wonders.
So now, it’s your turn. Whether you are still at the querying stage, or like me, on sub and waiting, what’s your best distraction technique? Hey, I’m always looking out for new and improved ways to angst!