Waiting for feedback about anything is always nerve-wracking for me, whether it relates to a report I’ve written for a client, a letter, or the latest draft of my magnificent octopus. Whenever I see an email in my inbox that I know is going to tell me what the other person thought, my heart skips a beat, and I often move the mouse cursor over the title line of the message for a while without opening it. Then I might go and get a cup of tea before clicking on the email. Sometimes I even make a bargain with the universe – for example, if I run a certain payroll before opening the message then that means it’ll be good news. I guess I’m more than a mite superstitious in that respect, and it’s become a force of habit.

The amount of nervousness does change depending on the importance of the feedback I’m about to receive, but even when it concerns something pretty innocuous, I want the person concerned to believe that I did my very best to accomplish the task I was set, or set myself. That’s why I edit work emails extensively before sending them, and try hard to present work in a format that’s as easy as possible to understand; why if one of my friends is reading something I’ve written, I’m always very worried in case they don’t like it.

I guess I’ll always be a worrier in that respect, but at least no one could ever accuse me of not caring. Still, when I’m sitting there agonising over the exact way to phrase something in an email – deleting, writing, re-deleting and then rewriting again – I do feel that I take minutiae way too seriously. The occasional grammatical howler probably wouldn’t kill me.

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