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.