Monday, May 10, 2010
Hurry Up and Wait . . . or Not
FundsforWriters runs an annual essay contest. It's hard work on this end, but it's satisfying. But a year never passes that someone doesn't email me asking when I'll announce the winners. Never mind the date is on the website on the contest page.
Put yourself in an editor's/agent's/judge's shoes. You are reading fast and furious, trying to get through the stack/slush pile of manuscripts on your desk. When it's contest time around here, my recliner is surrounded by stacks of entries - the ones with finalist potential, the ones without, and the ones I need to read again to be sure. Then once the top dozen in each category is chosen, they are read several times more by several eyes, to make sure the cream rises to the top.
But on the other end, someone thinks we're dragging our feet.
Rather than hurry and wait, which has to result in stress, crankiness and depression, why not be proactive and propel your career forward? Instead of watching your mailbox, study markets, contests, publishers and agents guidelines and submit more . . . and more . . . and more. Make a goal to keep a dozen submissions outstanding - maybe even two dozen.
Sounds overwhelming? It's actually easier than waiting and wringing your hands. Constantly strive to write something new, edit something another time, submit a piece when its done. A focus on putting out work keeps you from watching your inbox. Suddenly, you receive a contract, winner notification, or acceptance, and you didn't see it coming. Talk about fun!
Hello, Jane Doe. We received your submission and are happy to inform you that you've won second place.
Hello, John Smith. We enjoyed your query about bumblebees and would like to discuss terms with you.
Hello, Martha Jones. Your mystery intrigued me. When can we talk?
You go back to your list of submissions, searching for when you made that particular query. Your hand smacks your forehead. Wow. You forgot about that one. How cool!
Sure beats sitting around twiddling thumbs, tapping toes and snapping at friends and relations, doesn't it?