The Edit Letter and Other Obsessions

I spent months dreading my edit letter. One thing I excel at in particular is imagining the worst possible outcome in any situation, and then obsessing over it at two in the morning.  You may think two o’clock is an inconvenient time to obsess over edit letters and other things, but I’m here to tell you that is a very fine time indeed.

First of all, no one else is awake to bother you with silly things like facts or logic.

Then there’s the fact that any medicinal chocolate that might remedy the situation is stored very far away (the kitchen) and requires loss of covers to retrieve, rendering it Unobtainum Sadinotchious.

Finally, the shadows on the ceiling reflect your feeling of isolation and despair. If you’re lucky, there might even be a spider dangling about to ensure that you will never sleep again.

For my 2:00 am obsessing about the edit letter in particular, I tried to limit it to three areas:

  1. They would hate my use of Girl as a pronoun and third person POV.
  2. They would hate my “Notes from the 4th Wall” essay insertions.
  3. They secretly only bought my book in order to mold it into a tool of the anti-gay establishment and planned on shaping it into a highly lethal weapon used to ensure that gay people wouldn’t ever be allowed to marry or have children.

I mostly worried about the latter, in spite of the fact that I had a very warm relationship with my editor. Logic has nothing to do with anxiety. In my personal publishing journey, there was a time span of about six months from when I submitted my final-final manuscript until I got my edit letter, and that gave me plenty of 2:00 am sessions to perfect my anxiety and raise it from mild to are-you-fucking-kidding-me. Not everyone has the skills required for that, but I have a commitment to stressing myself out that is practically an art form.

Finally, I got my edit letter, and I actually opened it. I think I was making dinner at the time, and saw the email on my phone and rushed to read it on my laptop.

There was nothing scary or aggravating in it. None of the edits went against my intention with the work, and nothing was even worded harshly. I was filled with love and gratitude and wanted to send my editor cookies.  I felt as if she understood what I was attempting to do, and that she was trying to refine it, not change it.

I accepted most all of her suggestions, changed a few more things that she didn’t ask me to because I couldn’t resist the urge to poke it with a stick one more time, and then lost all of my edits and had to redo them all a day after my deadline had passed.

That cleared up that 2:00 am timeslot for obsessing about other things, like the fact that people were going to actually read my memoir, but that’s a post for another day.






Author: Lara Lillibridge

Lara Lillibridge sings off-beat and dances off-key. She writes a lot, and sometimes even likes how it turns out. Her memoir, Girlish, available for preorder on Amazon, is slated for release in February 2018 with Skyhorse Publishing. Lara Lillibridge is a graduate of West Virginia Wesleyan College’s MFA program in Creative Nonfiction. In 2016 she won Slippery Elm Literary Journal’s Prose Contest, and The American Literary Review's Contest in Nonfiction. She has had essays published in Pure Slush Vol. 11, Vandalia, and Polychrome Ink; on the web at Hippocampus, Crab Fat Magazine, Luna Luna, Huffington Post, The Feminist Wire, and Airplane Reading, among others. Read her work at