I have submitted my manuscript not to one, but two, competitions. Every T crossed, every I dotted, every detail attended to. I read the instructions for the Faulkner-Wisdom submission probably ten times and, in spite of that, I panicked when I didn’t receive a confirmation email within ten minutes. It’s the weekend. I know it’s the weekend. I know this isn’t the kind of high-tech, high-budget operation that generates those things automatically. I know there is one woman in the office most week days and that she handles pretty much everything. It did not stop me from spending a frantic hour searching for the email I sent with the attachments. It was a horror show. It had disappeared. I was sure I hadn’t actually sent it, or sent it wrong, or had imagined the whole thing.
I suffer from a tiny character flaw. No matter how careful I am, no matter how good a job I do, I always, ALWAYS, make one mistake. It never fails. So, having finally found the email, I’m now waiting for that mistake to show up. And knowing it will surface, that whatever that treacherous imperfection is, it will come to light, provides me with something harmless to worry about until I get over the depression that inevitably follows the completion of a large writing project.
And the BIG WORRY, underneath all these other worries, is the question: What now? What if, this time, I really don’t have another idea for a book? What if I stop writing? What will I do with the rest of my life?
Endlessly creative, and apparently unable to stop typing, what I did with the rest of my weekend was to organize, revise, and color-code my list of competitions. This is an impressive list that includes the names of the competitions, their deadlines, and the titles of the works I have submitted, with the dates on which I submitted them. I have also listed not only the contests entered but the ones yet to be entered and two contests to which I won’t be submitting.
This meticulous record-keeping is the product of last year’s mistake. I was so caught up in the actual process of submitting manuscripts and in the excitement of having manuscripts to submit, that I failed to write down what I had submitted or to whom. To this day, I still don’t know for sure
What that means, among other things, is that there are submissions I can’t make of anything written a year ago because I might have already submitted them.
I had a houseguest last week who left on Friday morning. Since I always do a bit of reclaiming my space, in addition to submitting my book and revising my list, I vacuumed my house, oiled my antiques, did laundry, and rearranged photos on my walls. Since I live in an old building whose plaster walls often don’t take nails easily, this involved a great deal of spackling and painting.
Never let it be said that a writer doesn’t know how to occupy her time. And, as I head into a new week, I realize that I need to do some work on a couple of stories before sending them off. Oh, and the novel goes to one more competition.
Life after writing.