30 THINGS I WILL DO NOW THAT I’VE FINISHED THE FIRST DRAFT OF MY FIRST BOOK

© the internet

I recently finished the manuscript to my first book, a collection of short stories called “Brownfields”. I’ve been working on the book since 2012; my MFA thesis was a series of stories from this book; I attended the Tin House Summer workshop in 2014 and Slice Magazine’s writing conference in 2015 based on stories from this collection. I’ve been wanting to finish this book for a loong time, but actually being done with it is incredibly terrifying.

With that, here’s a list of things I will do now that the MSS of “Brownfields” is complete and being sent out into the world.

1. Cry.

2. Edit the manuscript.

3. Cry more.

4. Send samples of the MSS to agents.

5. Obsessively check my email.

6. Look through the manuscript for spelling errors.

7. Find one.

8. Buy a new computer.

8. Also, some bandages.

9. Did I just list #8 twice? Oh my god I’m a terminal failure.

10. Catch up on my reading.

11. Realize that all of the books I’m reading are published, something I’ll never, ever be.

12. Talk down my neighbor downstairs to not call the cops.

13. Check that inbox again.

14. Make vague statuses and tweets regarding my general sense of impending doom.

15. Wait to see if anyone likes them.

16. OH MY GOD AN EMAIL THEY SAID THEY’LL TAKE A LOOK AT THE ENTIRE MANUSCRIPT HOLY SHIT THIS IS HAPPENING I THINK I’M GOING TO BE SICK WHERE’S MY GIRLFRIEND I NEED SOMEONE TO TELL ME EVERYTHING IS OKAY BUT SHE’S AT WORK SO WHERE’S MY CAT I NEED TO PET HIM RIGHT NOW.

17. Casually reply to the email with the entire MSS attached.

18. Wonder if 4 hours, 17 minutes, and 36 seconds is a causal gap of time for a reply.

19. Wonder why I haven’t received a thoughtful, positive, and immediate reply yet.

20. Discover bold new angles at which to chew off my fingernails until I bleed.

21. Brush my teeth.

22. Think about working on a novel.

23. Write about Pokemon Go on my blog instead.

24. Read about Donald Trump and feel much better about myself as a human being.

25. Oh god but even he has more books out in the world than I do.

26. There’s a new email…

27. What’s it mean when an agent says they’re going on “vacation”? It must mean they hate me.

29. Decide to just take it easy and go for a walk.

30. Walk into a river.

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