Whether you’ve been working on your WIP for one year or ten, there comes a day when you know it’s ready to submit. Whether it’s fifty pages and an outline or the full manuscript, today’s the day. You’ve done your work. It’s time to let go.
You go over your cover letter again and again, reviewing each sentence, obsessing and rewriting until you can’t put it off any longer. You take a deep breath. You hit send.
After the initial feeling of euphoria fades, you glance up at the wall, at the framed sign you pinned there months ago with some of the best writing advice you’ve received: Stay in the chair. You stand up, noticing the stiffness in your legs, the lower back ache you’ve been ignoring for the last few months. Step by step, you slowly move away from your writing nook, forcing yourself not to look back.
And then you celebrate the best way you know how. Maybe with a glass of champagne or a nice lunch at that restaurant you’ve been longing to try. A stroll through the park, a massage, perhaps a visit with an old friend, one who’ll forgive your long absence.
For the first time in months, you sleep through the night: no characters whispering in your ears, no jolting awake with that great idea that just can’t wait.
And then, inevitably, it arrives: The Morning After.
You wake up early and happily realize that you have nothing on your agenda, nothing but the life you guiltily put aside for far too long. It’s time to get back to it. You climb out of bed with a bit more vigor than you’ve had in these final days of rewriting. You stand there wondering what to do first.
You’ve faced The Morning After at least once before. You know enough to avoid the piles of laundry that have collected on the bedroom floor, the sweats or yoga pants or pajamas you’ve been living in for the last few weeks. You’ve learned to avoid mirrors.
At this point, if you’re smart, you’ve already considered that short vacation, ignoring housework, bills, yard-work, the half-painted den. You can’t wait to reward your hard work with a change of venue, but it doesn’t work out that way. Since you couldn’t gauge exactly when you’d be finished, and your preferred travel companions have real world schedules, they can’t just drop everything the day you’re finally ready. Even your writer friends, the ones who would gladly celebrate with you, are busy wrestling with their own WIPs. The vacation will have to wait.
With nothing pressing, and against your better judgement, you wander into your writing nook, sit down at the computer, and check your emails. Maybe someone is already reading. Maybe your manuscript was so compelling that the minute they received it, they put everything aside and stayed up all night, unable to stop turning pages until they finished that final brilliant chapter.
Instead, there’s not even an acknowledgement of receipt. [Read more…]