Nervous Writer Syndrome

Signs that you fall in this category:

● After submitting a manuscript, you send a corrected version because you spotted a typo. Or you want to change how you worded something.

● Your cover letter details your thought process in creating the manuscript.

● You email the editor to confirm your manuscript arrived.

● You repeatedly ask if the editor has decided to purchase your manuscript — or when you can expect an answer.

● You ask what you can do to improve the manuscript.

● You phone the editor for any reason.

I’ve concluded this about working with nervous writers:

● I’m paid to assemble publications, not hold writers’ hands.

● I don’t have time to exchange 20 emails with one contributor.

● Rather than try to decide which “corrected version” is the right one, it’s simpler to pass altogether.

● Someone high-maintenance in the submission process will probably be high-maintenance the rest of the way.

● It’s easier to reject a piece than to endure a worrisome writer.

Take a deep breath

If you discover a submitted manuscript has a typo, leave it. Editors will not think less of you. Resist the urge to send improved versions.

Concerned about email delivery? BCC your own address so you can see if your email goes through. If you fear it didn’t get to your editor, let them know you’ve had email problems and just want to check.

Don’t ask editors for feedback. Get input at critique groups, conferences, or through manuscript critique services.

Be patient. A manuscript goes through multiple evaluations as editors determine if it fits their needs.

As a freelancer, you are trying to sell to your client. Act professionally and play by the buyer’s rules. You’ll soon become a confident professional.

Jeanette Littleton is seeking anecdotal manuscripts for books she’s editing (including Angels, Miracles, and Other Heavenly Encounters, for Jim Bell and Bethany House). To receive her project guidelines, email her at

About CWG:

For more than forty years, the Christian Writers Guild has trained people to sell their writing.

Explore to learn more about our:

● writing courses

● critique service

● webinars

● Writing for the Soul conference

● Operation First Novel contest for unpublished writers

Also, consider publishing your book through Christian Writers Guild Publishing — a unique service that combines:

● quality education

● mentored guidance

● professional production

● effective marketing tools

Finish the course — and we’ll publish your book.

Find out more at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *