Caroline and I were sitting on my porch Sunday, talking about what we needed to do. I have a manuscript I want to submit. She has a short story she can send out. But once again, I found myself bogged down–paralyzed, really: Was my query letter/email perfect? What comparison could I draw to books already out there? What was my snappy one-line summation of my work?
We were back at that same place….trying to get everything right…so getting nothing submitted at all.
Then somehow it hit us. We would make Tuesday–today–a day to get it all wrong.
We’d send what we have, making our best yet imperfect effort to submit. Heck, maybe we’d do something wrong ON PURPOSE. Whatever. Just get the thing out the door.
I don’t know why we haven’t done this before. As a big-time women’s basketball fan, I thought of basketball as an analogy this morning when I was lacking courage to be a flop.
Would a young girl–say a Tiffany Mitchell–play basketball secretly in her driveway day after day, working to be WNBA calibre and never try out for rec league or a high school team? Would she wait until she was the best of the best to even try to get in the game?
Of course not. It’s important to try out, to get feedback, to play at the level you’re ready to play at today if you’re going to ever play at a higher lever tomorrow. Isn’t it?
I decided to answer yes and use it as another way to psych myself up to write that no-doubt-flawed email to a literary agent who may or may not be the right person to contact.
This day to get it all wrong has been a success. It’s 1:34 p.m. and we’ve sent our work out there. No matter what happens next, I’m counting it as a breakthrough in our Year of Submission.
An email from Caroline, showing just how hard it is to get past that quest for perfection: