In spite of all my efforts to let go of a specific outcome and let things fall where they will, especially when I can’t control the outcome, I still get a little obsessive when a manuscript first goes out on submission. Such was the case last week when my agent sent out not only a brand new picture book manuscript, but also a board book manuscript that has gone through several transformations. It was with one editor exclusively for two weeks and we just sent it out wider to other editors.

When I knew the manuscripts were out, I went through my new ritual of visualizing them landing in In Boxes, sending with them fun, positive, you’re-gonna-love-this vibes topped with a large dollop of gratitude. I felt all the anticipation of a new adventure beginning and felt happy all day.

And I felt happy the next day, because I kept thinking about them. But on the third day, I was still thinking about them, but the fun, happy feeling has been replaced with a ridiculous impatience and a crazy inner dialogue that goes something like this:

Crazy Inner Dialogue

Has this editor opened it yet? Has that editor taken a peek at the content? The board book is only 78 words. You can read that so fast you should have read it by now and gotten back to us! What? You have a zillion other emails, fifty thousand meetings to attend, and contracted books in various stages of development that have your attention? Oh, and not to mention that you usually share a manuscript you like more widely and then if it passes muster, you need to take it to an acquisitions meeting and try to sell it to everyone else, like sales and marketing? Can’t you do that in a few days? My manuscript is so adorable–and short. Did I mention short?

How to Silence Crazy Inner Dialogue

Luckily, experience has taught me that this obsession lasts anywhere from 3-10 days—I’m now at a week and the submissions are only occasionally on my radar. First, I do understand the incredible workload of editors so I go back to that big dollop of gratitude I sent out last week. Yes, it’s their job to read manuscripts, but that doesn’t mean I’m not grateful for the opportunity. I’m also grateful for the ideas and think back to how much fun I had writing and revising them and guess what? I’m back to feeling happy and excited.

And then I move on to Part Two of silencing the crazy inner dialogue: I sink into another project I’m excited about. Right now that would be Fade Away, the novel that’s taking forever the time it needs to develop and let me know what it is truly about. But it’s moving along and I set some deadlines for myself that is making the experience feel real and valuable.

Obsess and then forget—that’s the best way for me to handle it.

But maybe I’ll check my email one more time to see if there’s anything from my agent…

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