You’ve submitted some writing to an agent or publisher. Now you wait. When will they respond? How many other pieces are they reading? How long will it take for them to decide your story’s fate, one way or another? At least a month. Breathe. Remember, at least a month.

Having the luxury of emailing submissions is an amazing thing. The savings in cost and resources (and effort)! But you’ll also get an email response. That can come with all kinds of neuroses, particularly in the “obsessive checking of said email” flavour.

If your email provider has a live update feature, you can leave the screen open and just wait. Watching. You will try and do other things, productive things, and that screen will hover in the background. Your eyes will stray toward it, checking for the little number which indicates an unread message.

Since I have a number of email addresses associated with different projects and for business, I have notices of new mail forwarded to a single account, simply so I don’t have to sign into several different emails just to check for messages. In this instance, the service is the opposite of helpful. I get a pretty steady flow of email; newsletters, advertisements from suppliers, letters from friends, orders and invoices, etc. Just imagine what it’s like, pointlessly waiting for one specific email, and having the tab displaying (1), one new message – cue Count von Count laughter, Ah-ha-ha.

So I might be a bit jumpy anytime I’ve just sent off a submission. Chances are, by the time they actually respond, I will be over the obsessive email checking stage. Or worse, I’ll have submitted more writing and be awaiting multiple replies.

Oh, look! Another message. Be calm. It hasn’t been a month.