Posted by Janice D. Green on Oct 29th, 2012 | 6 comments
One of the hardest things for me to do is finish a manuscript, write a cover letter, and put it in the mail. It seems there is an ever present inner voice telling me it isn’t good enough, that I’m wasting my time and emotional energy to put it in the mail. The cover letter is the hardest part. I’ve heard so much about slush piles that even when I am enthusiastic about my manuscript, I fear I won’t stir up enough interest with my cover letter to get the editor to look past it to read my manuscript.
What have I gained from these pent up fears? Not one thing.
What have I lost? Any hope of getting a contract for my work.
It must be obvious by now that I am preaching to myself as I write this post. It is time for me to resolve to submit those manuscripts that have been sleeping on my hard drive. I have taken it seriously enough to get one manuscript ready to mail – it is stamped and ready to mail, as I write this post. Two or three more are nearly ready. And those ideas that have been bouncing around in my head need to be turned into articles, blog posts, stories… Fears, get out of my way, I have work to do!
One strategy I have sometimes used is to position myself to write. If it is a blog post I need to write, I open the blog post window and start writing something. The window isn’t all that big and somehow is less intimidating – at least to me – than staring out into space thinking what will I write? Once I’ve written a few things, I can still go back and edit it, even after it is published if necessary. Whatever the project, I resolve to position myself to start and get the words flowing.
What if I get rejection slips? I will remind myself that any good author has a huge pile of them somewhere, and think of them as my stepping stones to success, a necessary part of my credentials. Then I’ll take another look at the rejected manuscript. It has probably been out of my hands long enough to get stale. Perhaps I will see ways to improve it before sending it out again, or maybe I’ll have better things in mind to write about by then.
When is the manuscript ready? The perfectionist hurdle may keep me from submitting my work – I can’t let it go for fear there will be one more thing that needs to be fixed. It is important to send the very best, but finish I must, submit it, and move on to something new.
Someone in a writing group shared the following quote with members who wondered if they were getting overly obsessed with polishing up their manuscripts:
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything,
That’s how the light gets in.
by Leonard Cohen
So do your best, but relax, submit, and remember there will always be another day and another story to write.
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