Surfacing

Imagine: you’ve submitted a query to a publisher, a month later you realize you made a submission error and re-queried with all the right information. An automated acknowledgement hits your mailbox before you can close the program but you know you have blown your chances. Move on.

Another project. Another submission. Another letter, thanks but …

I have albums of thank you, buts…

Seventy-two days pass and Friday comes along, you’ve got to read through your inbox because there is a meeting coming up, you’ve got work to do, responses to make and there it is: “Subject: RE: Re-Query”. Heart-stops. Oh no, not now. Ah, just face it, get it over with and move on.

But instead – Instead, indeed: “Please feel free to send … The Editors.”

Call DR’s name. He’s the only one in the house and he’s lived through the “should I stop writing?” moments. Run downstairs. Leap. Scream. Tell YS. Tell ES. Phone MS. Send LS the whole email message – she is after all the only other person – except the agent whose reader ‘quite liked it’ – who has read the manuscript.

Before all that, say thank you, make promises, give yourself a deadline – you have got some heaps of polishing to do.

Once you are back on earth – before you start polishing, celebrate! Buy all your co-workers a drink and share this unbelievable moment. Tell all your fellow choristers. Dance the night away.

Saturday, day 1 of polishing. Don’t even know where to begin. By Tuesday, you know what you have to do and how to do it but you have a meeting that night. Wednesday evening, you are on target, on time, but you’ve got a singing lesson. Thursday evening, 9:45PM, shut down the computer – job done, you’ll do a final read through in the morning before you go to work. Friday, 5:15AM you’re awake. You start reading, for flow, for sense, for – typographical errors! For wholesale revisions of some sections. Good thing you started 30 minutes before you planned.

The day you need to get out of work on time but you can’t. You start behind schedule. Pressure works in your favor. 6:50PM: re-read the email message you’ve just written to the Editors, DR deletes a word and you know he’s right. Attach the PDF. Long pause, breathe. Send.

No going back. Automated confirmation arrives before you can shut down.  The spring uncoils and you surface. The difference is that everyone you know knows what has happened to you in the past week and they are all waiting to hear what the Editors have to say.

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