Ice: Jump on in

I was feeling a bit snarky and rebellious earlier this week.

See, my Christmas spirit has been on the thin side. What with not even having a tree yet (we wanted to downsize and it hasn’t arrived yet – and while I’d love a real tree, the husband is not as enthusiastic), not even starting to decorate, cookie plans still in flux, general running around, no Advent activities, and the chill/gray/dreary weather, well, “bah, humbug,” is all I had to say.

And then, during my Monday morning Twitter check, I saw an announcement that the Minotaur/MWA First Crime Novel contest deadline was 11:59 that night.

I checked the eligibility. I was good to go. I have a manuscript that I am getting ready to query in the new year.

Why not? I thought, rather mulishly, I admit. If it’s good enough to query, it’s good enough for a contest.

I pondered. Should I? Shouldn’t I? Doing these things on a whim isn’t good, right?

The heck with it. I filled out the form, uploaded the manuscript, and clicked Submit.

Then I stared at the confirmation “thanks for entering” message and panicked.

It was a little like a Polar Bear plunge, I think. You know, those people who, on New Year’s Day, go jump in an icy river or lake or other body of water. I suppose it seems like a good idea at the time. All the cool kids are doing it. Why not go along with the crowd, right?

So you jump, and the icy water hits you, wakes you up, and you get out of the river/lake/whatever and into some warm, sensible clothes. Maybe you grab a mug of hot chocolate. Anything to get back to reality.

In a way, I think any time a writer clicks Submit or Send on a manuscript – be it a query to an agent, a submission to a magazine, or entry in a contest – it’s a bit like being doused in ice. Right up until you click that button, it seems like such a good idea. You’re ready. You’ve slaved over this story for weeks/months/years. It is read to fly. You’re ready to fly. Never mind sugarplums, images of acceptance letters dance in your head.

And the second you send it off, the ice hits. Oh my gosh, what did I just do? There is no going back. No “takesies-backsies” as my kids would say. You’ve plunged right into the ice.

And since that’s the case, relish it. Enjoy it. You did something that a lot of people talk about and never do. Maybe they’ll say “no.” But you were at “no” before you pushed Submit. So what do you have to lose?

So enjoy the icy fresh feeling of “wow, did I really do that?” Because yes, yes you did. Congratulations.

Then run and get yourself some warm clothes and hot chocolate.

And in a bit of BSP, in case you are looking for a digital stocking stuffer, the ebook version of Lucky Charms: 12 Crime Tales is now on sale for 99 cents through Christmas Day. Published by the Mary Roberts Rinehart chapter of Sisters in Crime, the collection includes my story, Batter Down, written as Liz Milliron.


Author: Liz Milliron

Liz Milliron has been making up stories, and creating her own endings for other people's stories, for as long as she can remember. She survived growing up through reading, cutting her mystery teeth on Agatha Christie, Mary Higgins Clark and, of course, Nancy Drew. As an adult, she finds escape from the world of software documentation through creating her own fictional murder and mayhem. She lives near Pittsburgh with her husband and two teenage children, and fantasizes about owning a dog again - one of these days.

9 thoughts on “Ice: Jump on in”

  1. Woot! Looking forward to “Batter Down”! You are so right about jumping in feeling scary. It takes a lot of bravery. Good for you for taking the plunge! Fingers crossed!


  2. Absolutely. I loved this line the best: “But you were at “no” before you pushed Submit. So what do you have to lose?” That’s the truth. Best of luck. I knew you when!


  3. Thanks, all. Pamela and Sue – I hope you enjoy! I’ll also give a shout-out to Annette Dashofy, who has been a guest here on Mysteristas. Her story is set in her “Zoe Chambers” universe of fictional Monongahela County.

    Theresa, that’s something the husband and I say to our kids all the time when they say they are scared to ask for something. It’s pretty liberating to realize that if you never do anything, you’re guaranteed a “no,” but if you ask, you just might hear “yes.” Takes a little of the nerves out anyway.


  4. I think everybody who has ever queried or entered a contest can read this and know exactly how you felt. Good for you for clicking send! You have to take the plunge, even if it’s into icy waters, before anything good can happen.

    And I love the idea of digital stocking stuffers!


  5. Great comparison, Mary! And kudos to you for taking the plunge! You’re so right that submission requires bravery and that post-submission requires revival (maybe all writers deserve their very own fainting couches…’member those? for swooning?).


  6. Diane, I love digital stocking stuffers, too. I wonder how many people realize that Amazon, et. al. allow you to gift ebooks? And yes, probably a lot of writers can sympathize. One of my writing friends actually pulled a story from a contest because of the panic. She regrets it now.

    Cynthia, fainting couches and adult beverages – for recovering from any submission result! 😉


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