When we started a year of submission back in January 2016, I had many projects at many stages of near-completion. My goal, back then, was to stop sitting on things and start sending them out.
I did send a few things out. And while I was waiting for responses, I started a novel that had been kicking around in my head for more than a year. I wrote 90 percent of that novel in just one month and read a couple of chapters from my first draft at the Big Sur writing workshop back in December. I got the same response from every person: Finish the last 10 percent of that sucker, don’t overthink it, and start sending it out.
Wow. That’s how I felt about all of it.
One, the whole story had come out of me quickly, hung together from start to finish, and it read like a finished manuscript. Yes, it needed a little editing. But it just came out that way. Maybe all the years of struggle and toil were finally translating into ability.
Two, who doesn’t dream of going to a workshop with agents and editors and getting that kind of encouragement? I was a little bit in shock.
Three, I have gone from the person working on many projects at once to the person who is obsessed with this one project. I never saw myself doing that. (I’m not even sure that I like this person, btw.)
Four, I had no idea it would take me until now….NOW….to get that last 10 percent written and make the revisions I wanted to make before I could get to what?
That’s right, submitting. The whole point of this almost-two-year experiment Caroline and I have embraced.
I have some people reading my latest draft and am waiting for their feedback. I still have a few minor changes I want to make. My goal is to begin submitting after Labor Day. I was so sure I’d have started sending it out back in February. But here we are.
After Labor Day, I promise to embrace “Don’t overthink it. Just send it out.” And also to get back to my old so-many-projects-it-makes-Caroline’s-head-spin ways.