First, good news. I won something. Yay! Miss Snark’s First Victim held a secret agent contest and I was one of three the agent selected to send a partial. The fourth winner was selected to send a full. You can read all the entries by clicking on the miss snark site I have under Community Writing Sites. ( And check out her upcoming contest. I don’t qualify because it’s not my genre.)
I never leave my house. Back when I used to work, I got three weeks vacation a year, which I spent travelling to faraway, exotic getaways. I gave all that up to write and have a bad back, not in that order. Vacation these days is staying at a relative’s house or camping. Camping is where I was when the winners were announced. When I had no computer.
Normally, I wouldn’t have concerned myself with the outcome, but two days before I left, the secret agent made her comments on my ms that left me hopeful. I made arrangements to call Linda on Monday for the results. So, standing on the rocky cliff overlooking the beach at Montana de Oro, I called Linda. When I hung up, my husband asked, “Well?” I said I wanted to go home. He rolled his eyes.
Of course, we finished our stay, but I was anxious. I wanted to be home packaging my first fifty pages and constructing a query letter. No pun, but I wasn’t a happy camper.
We returned Tuesday afternoon. I beelined for the computer to claim my prize and get my submission instructions. Luckily, Authoress immediately responded because I wasn’t taking a shower until she did.
Then came my neurosis. For the next two days, I spent rewriting what was rewritten over a thousand times already. I had a sucky query, so I included a synopsis. I rewrote the synopsis over forty times before I’d tire and return to the ms to rewrite that one. When it was time to send, I wrote a brief one-sentence email that I was too shaky to write. My email actually stuttered. I rewrote that one sentence thirty times. I was so nervous I misspelled secret in the subject line. I caught it, but was getting impatient with myself. My finger hovered over the send button, hover, hover, hover. No! I went back and rewrote, revised, and returned to do it all again. By then, I was really hating myself. I wrote another shaky email and in a moment of impulse, hit the send button before I could change my mind. There. Done. No turning back. No turning back. My God, what have I done?
I went to my bedroom and stretched out with a cold compress on my forehead. Then it hit me like a shovel. In my haste, in my impatience, in my compulsiveness, I forgot to hit spell check on the email. I screamed before I even knew if there was an error. Who in their right mind would send off an email to a literary agent without hitting spell check? Who, I ask you. I’ll tell you who. Someone who is neurotic and out of control.
I won’t go back. I don’t want to know. In fact, I took my daughter and we left the house. We went to lunch and a movie as a reward for actually sending it, then I topped off the day with a trip to Wal-Mart as a punishment for the spell check oversight.