Saturday, April 2, 2011

To peek or not to peek, that is the question

Agents and editors accept submissions via email, so we no longer stand beside our mailboxes as the mail carrier escapes our eager paws. Instead, we hover near the computer, waiting for the little red number to announce we've got mail.

Now that many people have smart phones, our email travels with us. My question to you is this: if you're querying agents, or out on submission to editors, do you check your email while you're away from home?

Part of me thinks I shouldn't check, especially when I'm with the kids. I don't want a rejection to affect my mommy attitude. When I'm out and about on my own, I think I'll sneak a peek. Especially if I'm shopping and have easy access to the self-medicating chocolate aisle.

I've given myself this pep talk: what's the worst that can happen? The agent/editor says no. It's a bummer when our best isn't good enough, and yet it might be that it's just not the right love match at the right time. My husband reminded me that rejections keep us humble, and because of them, we'll be more thankful when we hear a YES! Each rejection is a step toward our end goal.

If I see someone in a fetal position, holding their smart phone in one hand and sucking their thumb with the other, I'll assume they're a fellow writer who just checked their emails. I'll keep my chocolate handy for writer's first aid.

To peek or not to peek, that is the question. What would you do?

56 comments:

  1. I'm not in this part of the writing process yet, but I don't think I would peek outside home! However, I don't have a smartphone and don't want one, so there wouldn't be as much temptation for me.

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  2. I would peek. I'm a peeker. I wouldn't be able to help myself. It's too easy to check nowadays.

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  3. Really? Because I'm 2000 miles away and here I am sneaking into the other room just to go online for a few minutes. Maybe I'm not the best example... LOL :D Great post! I agree with your hubby, and I also LOVE the concept of chocolate first aid. Especially since you're usually pretty close by.

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  4. Here via Lisa - I don't yet have anything out on submission, but I can tell you right now I wouldn't be a peeker. I would be an obsesser. I just got my smartphone, too, but I'm already sort of glued to it. Add in something as high-stakes and emotional as querying agents, and I'd likely be paying more attention to my inbox than to friends, small children, traffic, or dinner theater!

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  5. Yup, constantly checking the smart phone. :) Glad I got it though, it allowed me to communicate with the agent who I ended up signing with while I was on vacation. But now I constantly check for email from her. And blog comments. And other stuff. My husband calls me worse than a 14 year old girl. :)

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  6. LOL I posted about something similar today. Honestly, my email comes straight to my cell phone and chimes - so I know if I get something. However, I agree that there needs to be some degree of seperation - of balance between being mommy/wife/normal human and being the crazy writer I can be:)

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  7. Thankfully, I don't even have cell phone, never mind one that can check email. Though I do have an ipod touch, which can. I do not check email when I'm on the road. Maybe if I'm visiting for a few days, I will.

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  8. Oh, I'm always checking email, and this is just for my regular freelance work/submissions. I'll be querying my novel soon, so things could get ugly. I won't check when I'm with/out with the kids, though. I don't want my mind to be far, far away, leaving my family with only an empty husk. ;)

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  9. This is really a tough one. I agree with you about being out with the kids and not wanting to affect my mood. But sometimes if I'm out alone, and have a few minutes of down time, I will check. It's really hard not to.

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  10. Yay for chocolate first aid! I constantly check my emails throughout the day. Constantly.

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  11. LOL, no, I don't check my email when I'm away from home; I don't have a phone that does that--so that makes it easy to resist. Usually I bury myself in another project and try to forget that the email is coming. Sometimes that works, and sometimes it doesn't...

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  12. I'm a peeker. I love your idea of keeping emergency chocolate on hand! Awesome! The only times I don't peek are when I'm doing something~like you said~that I don't want a rejection to ruin. Otherwise, oh yeah, can't resist!

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  13. I totally look. I want to be in a unique place when I get the news!

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  14. This is why I will not get a data plan on my phone. I've worn out the refresh button on my computer. I can only imagine what I would do if I had round the clock access at my fingertips.

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  15. Oh, I'd be peeking every few minutes! :0)

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  16. Refresh, refresh, refresh. And I still do it, agent, book deal, and all. There always seems to be something I'm waiting for, bookwise.

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  17. My phone is not smart... but I definitely find myself trained to the computer if I'm in query mode. I look forward to activities that keep me away from the computer, almost forcing myself to wait longer and not hover.

    Not saying that works all the time, though.

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  18. You know, Julie. Whether we peek or not, we have to be firmly grounded. There is so much that can happen, especially when you are talking about someone's dreams.
    My very first submission came back a "yes". They loved my work and wanted me. It was a home run in the first Major League at bat. I signed a contract and I was on my way, dream immediately realized.
    Moments later, I came to discover that it was all a fraud. Thankfully, I got out of it, but then came 18 months of despair, wondering whether I would ever again hear a "yes".
    Thankfully, I did. And I hope everyone reading this post will hear one, too.
    No matter what, stay grounded and be prepared for anything.

    -Jimmy

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  19. Definitely PEEEEEEK! :P
    I can't stand it! And I also love the emergency-chocolate idea! :D

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  20. I don't have a smart phone but try not to peek at my email too often on the computer. Don't usually succeed though. Chocolate sounds like a good idea!

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  21. OMG! I peek all the time. My friend says I'm obsessed with my email in the same way she checks Facebook. LOL.

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  22. Tough question! I'm not at the point yet but I'm sure I'll check constantly. I have a smart phone and check my email all the time now, and I'm not awaiting any news. I think it'll be too hard not to peek, but I hope it doesn't consume me TOO much. :)

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  23. That's one reason I'm glad I don't have an i-phone or any mobile for that matter. I'm secretly hoping to get the best gadget around for Christmas, there's bound to be something new out by then.

    It is nerve wracking. I can't wait for this month to end so I can send my best ms out again without a typo in the first line (yes I know!) And also by then my parents are coming over from Uk for a visit. Luckily I've got other WIPs to keep me busy in April so I don't wish it all away. Good luck not checking, I'd be so tempted :)

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  24. When querying, emails should be checked once a day, first thing in the morning when no one else is around. Have your five seconds of disappointment if there is a form rejection; two seconds of disappointment if the rejection contains reasons; ten seconds of joy for a request - then get on with your job which is writing!

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  25. I am definitely a peeker, but I check my email all the time anyway, so I don't think it's an obsessive behavior. ;-)

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  26. I don't look at it as peeking. To me keeping up with email is part of my business responsibility. That being said, I try to keep it within my parameters of writing business hours. Rejections do bring that initial bummer wave, and I think chocolate it is the perfect cure.

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  27. Oh, yeah. I'm querying, and I'm obsessed. I don't have a fancy phone, though, so I just check my iPod when I have wi-fi. Sometimes it's nice to be away from home for a bit, since I have a break from email.

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  28. I don't own a cell phone/mobile device for this exact reason. I need to be sitting down when I get bad news.

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  29. I will be a total peeker when I start querying. I will not be able to resist!

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  30. I'm a peeker. I admit it. My email travels with me and I'm constantly checking on it... I whip my phone out whenever I get the "beep" indicating I have new email. I can't resist.

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  31. My phone doesn't have this capability - and I think that's a good thing. That way I can't obsess! :)

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  32. To Not Peek I say... As a former texting / email addict, I've learned to check twice a day... and that's it.

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  33. Though my phone has this capability, I have not activated it yet.

    I would surely peek. Whenever my manuscripts have been out on submission, I have this bad habit of constantly checking my emails ( as though any editor/publisher will reply immediately.)

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  34. I have an iPhone and it gets the mail every hour.

    I am fine with rejections. They reject the story, not me. I read and move on

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  35. I'd peek if I could... I'm still a step behind with technology - no smart phone for me yet. Perhaps that's good because I'm sure I'd obsessively check my phone while I'm out like I do with my computer when I'm home.

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  36. I have a smart phone, and I have my email on it... but not my writing email address. Sometimes it's a bit suspenseful, but I think I'm better off putting myself in a position where I can only check once or twice a day, rather than doing the refresh dance!

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  37. Thank goodness I don't get email on my phone bec. I'm afraid I *would* peek, then ruin what little time I have away from my computer! Still I want an iphone..... such a pull.

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  38. it's awful--I check in the middle of the night even! Nuts. But oh well. What to do? :D xoxo

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  39. Great question!! I would peek like a crazy person. In fact, I'm sure I would turn into a crazy person.

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  40. I don't often check my email when I'm away on conferences because I don't have my home computer with me. My school computer can't be used for personal email. Blah to that!

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  41. Peek!

    But I think within reason. Give yourself a break, don't let it compete with certain family or fun times, etc.

    One thing I haven't seen anyone bring up is the problem of if you get a request when you're out. A lot of people think it's not a good idea to mention these publicly (then they'll want news and do you really want to tell them about the rejections, etc.) and trying to keep the excitement of a request down? That'd be super hard.

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  42. Great post! I'm not a peeker. I wait until I'm home and have time to look.

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  43. I don't peek. I go out to escape the computer...otherwise I think I'd go insane (more insane)

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  44. Oh, man. I peek because I have no self-control. But you're right, I hate that it affects my mommy attitude.

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  45. It's so hard not to look. Just don't give up -- my darkest moments came right before I got my good news.

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  46. I'm at my computer so much, that it's a relief to be away (also I don't get email on my phone - I know, the horrors! Someday I'll join the revolution).

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  47. I check, but no longer with *quite* the same obsessive-compulsive fervor that I did when I first started submitting. I'm so used to waiting for responses that when they finally come, I'm usually surprised.

    I think it's like Pavlov's dogs, though--the intermittent reinforcement of that occasional response reinvigorates my fervor to check more frequently :)

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  48. Haha, I got an image of that writer in the fetal position on the ground, clenching their phone...

    For me, I don't have email on my phone, so I guess I never really thought about it. I'm already wired in enough as it is, but I suppose that if I did have a smartphone, I would probably check.

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

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  49. I didn't have a smartphone when I was querying, but I know I would have peeked. These days I read (but don't always respond to) email while I'm away from home.

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  50. My trusty pay-as-you-go phone doesn't allow peeking, which is a good thing because I definitely would peek!!

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  51. I don't have a way to check email when I'm away from home, and I'm glad. When I'm waiting to hear back from an editor or an agent, I'm actually relieved when I can get out of the house and get my mind off the email!

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  52. Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)

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