Pressing send on an important e-mail makes my hands sweat, droplets appear on my top lip and I feel like I’ve just consumed something that is going to make me throw up. It’s not because I feel awful about what I’m about to do, on the contrary, it’s more to do with the expectation of what might happen next.

There’s a common theme that runs through my blog posts and that is the ‘what if’s’. No-one wants to know what’s running around in my head when that happens. There isn’t a blog space that would be big enough for all my ‘what if’ worries, so this is what I do to help me get the information to the person who has requested it as quickly and stress-free as possible:

1.Spellcheck is your friend, use it before you press send. Your fast-beating heart will thank you for it.

2.Is the e-mail address correct? Have you spelled their name correctly? Do they have a preferred way to contact them? And are you using that preferred way? Did you actually check the submission page on their website?

3. Did you attach the attachment you have written to them about before pressing send? I’m not going to lie, I may have done this in the past and I can assure you it’s not a good thing to do for your sanity or theirs. What hope do they have for you if you can’t attach a file to an e-mail that politely says ‘please find attached…’ (it may have been years ago when I was new to the whole ‘sending out to agents’ thing but I still cringe about it and I will never tell you who it was).

4. Nothing bad can ever happen if you have completed 1, 2 & 3 to the best of your ability. All they can say is no and you will dig deep for inner courage and move on. Nod if you’ve just been through this, it does get better, honest.

5. Do not press send on the same day/right after you type up your covering e-mail. Leave it a few hours sitting in your drafts folder or even better, leave it overnight. There will be less chance of mistakes if you give your brain a chance to digest what you’re doing. Brains can get over excited and eager to press send before the owner of the brain is physically ready.

6. As much as some of us like a glass of wine to unwind of an evening, do not press send after a few ‘dutch courage’ snifters. It will all end in tears, literally. Or you’ll write that you really love them and I mean really love them and no-one wants that. Yes, your love is appreciated but not in that way. And no, I am not speaking from experience here but I have seen the aftermath of such scenarios that involve apologetic phone calls, weeping, hiding under duvets with embarrassment followed by mumbled shouts of ‘I am never writing/submitting to that agent/coming out of here again’ from within the confines of a cosy blanket.

7. The truth be told, I don’t press send. I do however follow the above 6 rules and once I am ready and I have attached my document and everything in the spelling world is fine and dandy…

…I get my son to press it instead.

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