10 Ways to Stay Sane(ish) On Submission

Yes. The time of dread and doom for writers – being on submission. To the non-writers out there, that means the gut-twisting, soul-shredding wait between the time a writer submits their query or manuscript to an agent and the time they hear back.

It’s really not as bad as we make it out to be, well, not quite. And there are ways to get through it relatively unscathed.

As you might guess, I’m on submission now and have been foreeeeever (okay, months) with a fantasy manuscript. There’s been so much interest in this story, requests for fulls, partials, R&R (revise & resend) and interest in what is on my agenda next that I’m over the top excited.

Bad thing is, I can easily fall into the trap of constantly checking emails thinking – “Yes! This time I’ll get THE email asking for a time frame for THE call!” Then, after checking and discovering nothing is there it’s a bit of a downer and can lead to a vicious cycle of getting nothing else of worth done.

So, here are ten things that keep me from obsessing over agent response times, wondering who likes, loves, hates or mehs my current submission and all those other nagging issues. Real and imagined.

1.) Writing blog posts like this one 🙂 Seriously, writing anything during the waiting time helps.

2.) Speaking of writing, start the next project. Yup. This serves several purposes other than helping the writer keep their relative sanity. Primary of these is most agents invest in their authors for the long haul. Meaning, not just one book. Having another project or two in progress allows them (and you) to assess if the partnership would be a match or not.

3.) Research. Learn something new. Luckily, my current novel is very diverse and I’m enthralled with the beauty of the different religions and cultures I’m learning. So much so, that hours will go by without even a glimmer of a thought to check email.

4.) Realize that in the world of publishing the word ‘soon’ has an entirely different definition than in the mundane world. It could mean anything from three hours to six months. So don’t fret.

5.) Realize agents are busy folk and their prime focus is on their current clients’ manuscripts, edits and deals – as it should be. They really aren’t ignoring you. Give them time, give them respect and they will eventually answer.

6.) Relax with the entertainment of your choice. I swear, I watch more movies, TV shows and read more books while on submission than at any other time.

7.) Take up exercise, kick-boxing, meditating – anything positive that distracts you from stalking your Inbox.

8.) Make a marketing plan for your book. Thinking positive here!

9.) Get away from the keyboard. Go anywhere – library, bookstore, park, store, whatever and wherever as long as it’s not in front of the computer.

10.) Stay positive! Other writers have landed the right agents, went on to have wonderful partnerships and successful careers. There’s no valid reason to believe you can’t.

So to all my fellow writers out there, especially those on submission – Best of luck to all of you!

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