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It's An Emergency

Posted on March 18th, 2020
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It's An Emergency

I was just thinking about the weird position I currently find myself in. No, I'm not doing yoga. Weird things happen with my hormones when I do yoga. That's my excuse for not doing yoga. No, this weird position involves having my first novel out on submission while also being on a nationally-mandated quarantine.

Being 'on submission' (having your manuscript out for review with editors at publishing houses) is a crazy-making thing by itself. Nothing is within your control any more. The precious manuscript you worked and tended, scrupulously saved and backed up to multiple flash drives, edited and polished till there was nary a 'just' or a 'very' to be found, is irrevocably and irretrievably out there in front of expert eyes for judging. Like a miniature poodle at Westminster.

You resolve to be cool about the whole thing. You start a new manuscript. You delete it. You stress-eat (at first, it's neatly-cut cubes of cheese because at least you're going to stay low-carb, but before long it's stale Ritz cracker crumbs poured directly into your mouth from the bag). But the cooler you try to be--pretending it's NBD and Who Cares and if nobody likes your book it's Their Loss--the more you find that your eye is randomly twitching, your foot tapping under the desk like a demented rabbit.

Under the best circumstances, with a full fridge and all the toilet paper you could need stacked safely under the sink--or at least two blocks away at the grocery store or at worst one day away via Amazon prime--being 'on submission' with your manuscript potentially (hopefully) being read by your dream editors is a stressful, anxious circumstance. Now, though, let's spice it up. Let's add another layer, a new backdrop all together. Let's take this whole situation and add to it a national crisis that shuts everything down and overloads hospitals and could kill your grandpa and requires people to keep their big, supportive hugs to their dang germy selves.

Maybe I should have hoarded those cracker crumbs.

My first time on submission has morphed into something strangely dystopian. It might just inspire a novel of its own: Total Submission: Quarantine.

Instant best seller.

Being quarantined to your home is kinda stressful, even if it is (for now at least) self-imposed. And being on submission with your first novel is also kinda stressful. The combination is completely bonkers.

I realize that writing a novel you are proud of and signing with an awesome agent and going out on submission inside of a year's time is a complete and total dream-come-true all its own. But now the novel needs to find a home. It's nerve-wracking. I'm not going to gloss over that, for myself or for others. I'm currently self-soothing by imagining my potential editor, that dear, dream-holding One, holed-up somewhere with my story right this very minute.

I bet she's wearing a cuddly scarf. She's probably holed up in some awesome tiny NYC apartment with a cute mug of cappuccino and Chinese takeout boxes (ironic) all over her desk. There's not much else to do, seeing as how she's 'self-isolating' and all, so she's just going to read submissions like there's no tomorrow. A few hours later, the foam has dissolved in her mug and the noodles have gone cold because she's just so engrossed by my story she forgot to eat.

Or she might have fallen asleep with noodles on her chin instead. I don't know. It's ok either way. Actually, maybe I should go to sleep, too. Maybe we all should: All of us just agree to take a big long nap till this is over. The story will still be there when we wake up.

It's An Emergency
It's An Emergency


Posted on:
March 18th, 2020