The stress of being on sub makes the “finding an agent” wait look like a cake walk. At least, that’s been my experience and that of many of my friends – not that either journey is easy. A lot of the sub process happens behind closed doors, but you can see who the writers are by certain telltale traits – like chewed-off fingernails and twitchy eyes. Here are a few tips to help you get through this.

  1. Paint and Peel Polish – The first thing to go are the nails. Some people bite them. Others chew up their cuticles. It’s not pretty. I recommend this polish. It keeps you occupied and doesn’t look nearly as bad.
  2. Sims 3 – The hours of waiting can turn you into a crazy person. You never want to stray more than two feet from a computer or phone. Playing the Sims can suck up whole days of your life, turning you into an automaton. Better a robot, than a twitchy freak.
  3. Scrivener – Do not sit around waiting for news. Everyone tells you to get going on a new work to keep your mind occupied. This software will help you do that. At the very least, it will give you the illusion of productivity as you play with the corkboard features.
  4. Twitter – I’ve spent whole hours on Twitter, chatting with friends and fellow writers. A tip: Do not stalk editors who have your book, seeking any tidbit of news. No one likes a stalker. Especially the twitchy ones with scary fingernails.
  5. Chocolate – LOTS and LOTS of chocolate.
  6. Cleaning and Organizing Your Home – My apartment is sparkling, and I don’t have a maid. This is a great time to organize all those files that have been piling up. In fact, I think I’ll shelve my personal library according to the Dewey Decimal system. That’s not weird, right?
  7. Friends and Family – How else would you get through this crazy time, except with the help of some really great people who probably tire of your freakouts, but never tell you? image from Natalie Dee.
  8. Take a walk – Get out in the world and focus on something other than your book or yourself. The fresh air will help you. And maybe cure that twitchy eye. Honest.

May your sub journey be quick and painless!