Thursday, February 09, 2006

The Post Office

Eventually, in every successful writer's life, comes the moment when one must admit defeat--or success, which can sometimes be tougher to admit--realizing that perfection is not attainable this side of glory, and package that manuscript up and ship it out.

Sometimes this involves saving the file one last time, attaching it to an e-mail and hitting send. Sometimes it means printing out 647 pages, typing a cover letter, finding a giant rubber band that won't break when you wrap it around that monstrous pile of paper, locating an envelope that will fit around it (those free Priority Mail Tyvek envelopes from the post office just barely do), and then hauling the thing down to the post office. It's almost as much work getting it out the door as it is writing it.

Well, no, not actually. The writing encompasses several months (years for some writers) (weeks for others) of effort. The printing, packaging and schlepping only take, oh, a day. It is an inevitable part of the process if one wants to be successful. And it's one of the most nervewracking.

I mean, your baby is going out into the world. What if they don't like it? What if they hate it? What if--? Authors can come up with more scary what-ifs than anybody else in the world, because that's what we do. We make stuff up. We're professionals, for cryin' out loud! And it's almost enough to make you want to bundle your baby up and keep it under the bed where it's safe. Almost.

Thing is, if nobody ever sees it--nobody in a position to buy it and publish it so other people can buy it and read it--nothing will ever happen. It won't hurt you. Some people are perfectly happy to write lovely things for themselves and their families. And if that's where you are, great. But me? I'm going to go put on my tennis shoes, stick that humongous envelope in my RWA Anaheim totebag (the perfect size for mail runs) and hike down to the post office. After a while, it hurts less.

1 comment:

SpecRom Joyce said...

I often take anti-nauseau pills when I have to mail something out.

I feel your pain, baby!