Monday, March 14, 2011

How do you do it?

I'm freaking out, really. If I were a nail biter, I'd be viciously gnawing.  I sent my first query a week ago, today. I'm already freaking out. I know--I know what you're thinking. At least some rejection is inevitable and everyone knows agents don't move fast, so I should shut up, quit whining, move on and stop freaking out. It isn't just that. It seems like every day there is something new. I don't know I can't explain it. Some rule my book breaks. Some mistake I made in the handful of queries I sent out. Something else you're not supposed to do that I've done. One more problem to add to the list in the face of the unknown.

I really didn't want to blog about this, but I've posted a schedule and feel committed to blog at least three times a week. I can't think. Not about anything else, anyhow. So I have to post this.  It's true a lot of the potential problems I've tallied in my mind won't be a problem until much later, and truthfully even then it probably still wouldn't. But part of the problem of having an overactive imagination is that while it may make for interesting phantom fires, I can't turn it off at will. So I find myself freaking out. The logical thing to do is focus on the task at hand, getting an agent. I'm trying to focus; I really am. It just feels so powerless, like I've written the query letter and people like the book. If I could just get someone to read it...

...I feel the tightness in my chest and a total lack of worth as my anxiety has prevented me from accomplishing much of anything today. I've done some reading and I'm loving the book,  yet it couldn't consume me. Not today. I ran. But my favorite part of the day has been cutting vegetables, because I got lost in the monotony of the task and until I realized I wasn't thinking about it, I didn't think about a year of my life begging to be looked at by people who for the most part will never see more than the pitch.

Does this happen to you? How do you deal with it? How do you do it?


  1. Don't worry. You are not alone. A lot of people experience anxiety and stress. It's part of gaining marks as a writer. You're in it, much farther than most make it. Now you must wait to hear what the verdict is. Much easier said than done.

    Right now I'm slightly anxious while working on my query and line edits. It's daunting, tedious, and overwhelming. However I know the feeling will pass and I'll begin to feel uplifted and awesome at the journey.

    Just remember, right now you feel defeated, however when you get that agent all of those worries will seem meaningless. All it takes is one.

  2. This is perfectly normal. We all go through it. Just try to relax. The reason we query in small groups is to allow for changes to be made. It's not easy, but you'll get through it.

  3. Thanks guys.

  4. Oh, the Query Quandry Syndrome. Know it well, Beth. Can't sleep? Can't do one thing for more than a minute before THE QUERY QUANDARY SYNDROME pops up?

    My best solution has been to take a hike. Literally!

    *Pat Pat* You'll survive.

  5. Right there with you! I've been querying for a month--sent out a few more today, not a whole lot yet, but I've already gotten 10 rejections. The only thing I do is to just keep going. Keep querying. Look up every single agent in the whole wide world who's interested in my genre and submit to all of them! All I need's one YES! It's frustratingly hard and I really have no way to vent. Especially since I'm trying to find a full time job still from graduating, so I'm getting rejections in left and right! I basically try to not think about it too much. Just focus on the querying.

  6. It is totally acceptable to freak over sending your first query. I did. I still do. Until I find an agent ever query I send will be laced with anxiety and a need for me to pull my hair out. But over time it does lose the intensity. You learn to leave between the send and receive periods. I find that the best thing for me to do is write. I start on the next thing. Or edit the heck out of what I just sent. Again. They may ask for a full- you never know. But keeping busy I believe is the key. Finding that perfect thing that takes your mind away from the query is the answer.

  7. Ugh. When I'm anxious about anything, I always end up putting on really loud music and cleaning something. If I sent out enough submissions and queries, my house would be a spotless show palace.

  8. LOL, Li, I do that too. Too funny.

  9. Beth
    The waiting has got to be the worst part. Waiting to hear back from an agent, an editor; waiting to see a corrected proof, waiting for publication, for reviews.
    Just know that everyone has to deal with it. Knowing that everyone suffers to some degree, helps me.

  10. Beth you'll be fine. You're book was amazing, your query was good, and I'm sure they're going to like it.

  11. Please come visit me and read my 'don't count your blisters" post. It may put some of it in perspective a little. I send a query and forget it. If I am remotely obsessing - checking email - or going off the deep end in any way - I move that energy to the next book. I edit - the pages again if I am really concerned. Pretend you have a request and begin at once to do that last look over - that way if you do get one, you don't stay up for 3 days freaking and including exhausted errors thinking your doing your story any favors.
    See how far you can get on the next project before you hear a word back - who knows - you may get something like (I like your writing but am not in love with this project at this time - do you have anything else?) Sure you do - here it is.
    Hope that helps and best wishes on your path....Howlynn