After spending the past several years researching, writing, drafting, and revising, an author I work with is ready to send her manuscript out into the world in the hopes of finding an agent. The ultimate dream is finding the perfect publishing home for her YA novel and getting her important story out into the world.
It’s an exciting time, but also a scary one. Because for this writer, like so many other writers, sending this book out into the world is a brave act. It requires courage, trust, hope, and a willingness to be vulnerable.
Of course there are countless stories of bestselling authors who were famously rejected time after time, which can provide some comfort, but that doesn’t necessarily help with the anxiety that comes with sending your beloved baby out into the world.
Since you may have been or maybe will be in this position with regards to your own writing, I wanted to share with you what I told my client about the art of pushing the send button.
First of all, congratulations are in order. Getting to this point after so much time and effort and perseverance is something to be celebrated. Take the time to acknowledge what you’ve created. It was your vision, your drive, and your stick-to-it-ive-ness that got you here. Well done!
Try to detach yourself from the outcome. Yes, I know. This is (way) easier said that done. Obviously you’ve got big dreams for your writing project and you want to see those dreams come true. I get it. However, being overly attached to the outcome can make the energy around submitting your work intense and “grasping.” Think about that friend from high school who wanted to find a romantic partner so badly they oozed desperation. (We all know it’s the non-desperate, confident people who do better in the dating scene.) Apply this same principle to submitting your work. Instead of needing a specific outcome, try being curious, hopeful, and excited about the outcome. It feels much better. I promise.
Come up with an affirmation (or two) to stay in a positive mindset and avoid spiraling through the negative “what ifs.” For example: I’m so curious to know which agent is going to fall in love with my book! or I can’t wait to find out which publication is going to pick up my essay. Post somewhere you can see it (and read it) often.
Remember that at the end of the day you want to connect with people who believe in you and your vision. It’s not about getting someone to reluctantly take you on as a client / writer / author…it’s about finding the perfect match with a publication / agent / publisher who will champion you and your work. You and your work deserve this. If and when someone passes, that just means they’re not the right match. And that’s good information—it brings you one step closer to finding out who is.
Lastly, get comfortable being uncomfortable. Don’t dread the waiting and wondering. Instead, notice it, perhaps even embrace it, and let it go.
It’s not easy, but what’s the alternative? Stick your writing project in a drawer for another day or procrastinate with a million things you’ve got to do before it’s finally “ready” to submit?
Go for it. Take the leap and trust. You owe it to you and your writing.