It is D-day. Delivery day. The day I send my manuscript to my editor. This day is always a day that I am very worried. If you have never sent in a book, then you might like to know what sorts of things a writer worries about on D-day. (If you are a writer, feel free to add to the list.)
1. I worry that maybe the book is bad. Terrible. Maybe I only think it’s good because I’ve been writing it for so long that it’s a queer little pet now, and I probably can’t see it for what it is. It’s like those people who have a really obnoxious little dog and they think it’s the most charming little beast in the world, even while it humps your pillows and pees in the potted ficus in the living room.
2. There could be something wrong with the word counter thingie on my computer and as a result, I am going to get a letter from my editor at 4:00 saying that they’ll need the other 10 000 words before 5:00.
3. My editor is new to me. I haven’t met her or worked with her yet, but I’m pretty sure she hates me and thinks my work is lame.
4. Maybe she’s incompetent, and I’m going to send her this book, and it will be terrible and she won’t notice it’s terrible and it will just get published and I’ll be humiliated. (That has to happen, because there are some really, really bad books out there, and they got past an author who thought it was great and an editor who agreed.)
5. It could happen that I’ll send her the manuscript, but it will be blank because computers are stupid. Then my computer will crash and so will the one at home I have it backed up on, and the whole book will be gone.
6. Maybe every piece of hatemail I’ve ever gotten is the only true stuff that’s ever been written to me. Maybe I am out of my mind thinking that I’m a writer and I should go back to all the stuff I did before.
7. Maybe it’s going to be fine.
8. I probably used the wrong font and that’s going to ruin everything, and by everything I mean my whole life. Your life will stay the same.
9. The Editor is going to ask me to revise every single word.
10. The Editor is not going to ask me to revise every single word, which could either means that #4 is completely and totally true or that the book is fine and there will be no way to tell, even after an entire bottle of wine and three hours sobbing to my husband about how being a writer is really, really complicated and unpredictable.
11. I put the essays in the wrong order. The book was totally fine until last night at 1am, when I rearranged two of them and destroyed the entire integrity of the book which is now a slag heap of human brain waste.
12. At book tours for the rest of my life, someone will come up to me and ask me why those essays are in that order and I’ll have no explanation.
13. Somewhere in the more than 60 000 words, there is a factual error. It will not be discovered until the most important book review of my career. The whole review will be about that error, and how the funniest thing about my humour book is that I’m an idiot who made this error and actually sent the manuscript in anyway. Ha Ha.
14. The book will be so bad that revision won’t even be possible, and I’ll never be asked to write another one.
15. The book will be good enough that they ask me to write another one, and this whole thing will start all over again.