When an Editor Requests Your Manuscript

Nov 16:  I flew home from New York today.  I got home around 4pm, dropped my bags, and just sat on the couch for about an hour.  No TV.  No music.  I was just watching YouTube videos about the lip stain I read about in Alida Nugent’s blog (the author the editor from Penguin Random House compared my writing to).  I decided that if I wasn’t going to leave NYC with the business card of an editor, then I’d at least have some fancy lip stick to wear when I went back to work.

And then, it happened.

My watch buzzed indicating I had an email in my gmail account which is the account I designate only for important emails.  I see the email is from my group leader at the conference and all I can see on my watch are the words “Good news from…”

I start saying “oh my gosh, oh my gosh, ohhhhh my gosh” as I scramble to look at my email on my phone.

THE EDITOR FROM PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE WANTS TO READ MY MANUSCRIPT!  AHHHHHHHH! (unapologetic about the all caps)

I call Chris and tell him the good news with a lot of “I can’t even believe this….”  “I didn’t even think they’d really follow up with anyone…”  “I can’t even believe this…” He’s just as excited as I am and we end the call with my voice starting to crack and me saying “wow, I am so excited I could probably cry.”

A few minutes later my mom’s face pops up on FaceTime.  I lose it.  I start laughing and crying and laughing and crying some more.

You guys, I was so mentally, emotionally, physically and every other type of -ally exhausted you could be in combination with just coming off the semi-scared factor I felt (hate to admit that) because I had been in NYC by myself for the last day.  I had just faced my fears, felt stupid, doubted myself, then loved myself, then felt tired, then walked 20,000 steps, then felt embarrassed, then felt proud, then felt independent, then felt hungry, then felt vulnerable.  All I could do was sit there and cry my eyes out.

I was so proud of myself.  I was so excited.  I was so validated.

I just wanted to shout from rooftops telling people to go for their dreams and use phrases like “anything is possible!”

Nov 17:  My last day off work.

When I opened my eyes this morning, all the shouting about achieving your dreams and public service announcements about doing whatever you put your mind to were gone.  I was on the opposite side of the spectrum.  I wanted to hide under a blanket and not come out.

I was so nervous.  I was so fearful.  I was so overwhelmed.

What if my stories aren’t even funny?  What if something I wrote offends someone?  Who will edit my work?  When the h-e-double hockey sticks will I have time to edit these?  Should I make these funnier?  Did I even write enough?  Do any of my stories even go together?  What if I can’t put my money where my mouth is?  Will I end up looking stupid at the end of this?

I drove to Easton.  I bought lip stain.

Nov 18:  Back to the real world and the job that actually pays me.  I think a struggle we all face (which can oftentimes be disguised as an excuse) when we get really into something in our personal lives – hobbies, kids, side businesses, travel, etc is keeping the appropriate balance of the work that pays our bills and all that other dreamy stuff.  I have made a commitment to myself throughout this entire year that my job comes first and all other goals come second (but no one told me one of the biggest publishers in NYC would like me).

Editing any of my stories at this point is actually impossible.  I can’t even.

I get the original sketchbook out that I bought when I started writing this book and drew a calendar with what is left of November and the month of December.  I decided to create a schedule.

As much as I’d love to say I already submitted my manuscript to the editor….I haven’t.  I want to die over it too.  They told us at the conference several times (and in the email they sent saying she was interested) that we shouldn’t rush.  Clearly these people have no clue that I am an A+ rusher on everything.  I LOVE to be the first one done when it comes to stuff like this.  I was amazing at those timed math tests in 4th grade.  It gave me a chance to be prideful and braggy without even having to say anything when I would get to walk to the front of the room and turn in my test first.  Take that suckers.  Not my fault you didn’t know 9 x 9 = 81 as fast as I did.  But in this case, my stories haven’t really been edited yet to the level they should be so I have no choice other than to be patient.  A few emails with some people at the conference and a coworker who has been published all told me to take my time (I mean, some suggesting I could wait even 3 months).

After much internal debate, I decided I would submit all the stories I could (I don’t have to submit a completed book) on Dec 15 for these reasons:

1.  It’s far enough in advance from the holidays that it won’t get lost in the she-was-out-of-the-office mess.

2.  It’s a Tuesday and I have a theory most authors (2nd blog post I’ve called myself an author) probably submit on weekends leaving an editor’s inbox full on Monday (I made this theory up but think it’s valid).

3.  It gives me a few weeks to stop playing with lipstick and start editing my work, but not so many weeks that the editor is like “geez, this conference was so 2 months ago.”

4.  It’s the day Chris and I met 10 years ago so clearly it has good vibes.

Nov 19:  I read some of Alida Nugent’s book “You Don’t Have to Like Me” and realize she is me and I am her.  We write exactly the same.  I revise my pitch and include her book as a comp.

I email my best friend (English major) and bribe her with massage gift cards and oversized carb loaded gift baskets if she’ll edit my stories.  She agrees.  I tell her I’ll include her in my acknowledgements.

Nov 20:  I met Angela for brunch where I gave her the entire NYC play-by-play and then we went to Tedx Columbus to hear speakers that leave us discussing topics and ideas we wouldn’t otherwise discuss, followed by dinner with her, her husband, and a couple of my coworkers.

Dinner conversation led me to have an idea for an amazing new chapter for my book.  A political piece of sorts.  The creativity I feel when I have a story dying to get out floods over me.  I was relieved to feel that way again!  Writing is so hard when you force it and tell 5,000 people on a blog you’re writing a book.  And then…on a random lucky day….an idea comes to mind and you just have to get it down on paper and your confidence comes back.

Nov 21:  I spent 4 hours writing the story I was dreaming up last night.  I feel like it’s one of my best ones.  According to my timeline, I was supposed to be editing 2 that I had already written. This is the day I decide I don’t like editing.

Nov 22:  I cry to Chris at 10pm and say phrases like

“I’m on the verge…”

“I just have too much to do…”

“I have the job I wanted so bad at work and I have an editor interested in reading my book and I feel like I’m falling behind….”

“But when will I even edit this stuff?”

“I don’t even want to ask people to edit for me because I can’t handle it if they don’t like it”

“I was supposed to edit yesterday and I ended up writing for 4 hours instead…”

“Ugh…I left a tissue in my pants pocket again in the washer and it’s all over my clothes…”

“Am I falling behind?”

“Why is the website down for my health benefits and I’ve tried a million times to transfer money to our investment account.  I don’t have time to keep trying these things.  I don’t have time for this.”

Nov 23:  I was in the office at 7:30am in order to stay on top of things at work.  I ended up working for 3 hours tonight after I got home to finish an assignment.

The only thing I did to move the needle forward on book publishing today was change “ballad” to “ballot” in the story I wrote over the weekend.

So, here is what I know on day 23 of the craziest month of goals so far:  I’m losing my mind.  My plate is full.  My scale is tipping.  I am on the verge of a mini meltdown at any moment.  I will be heads down writing and editing for the next few weeks with no time for cute selfies with even cuter filters on Instagram.  I’ll probably cry some more when it’s inconvenient.  I’ll probably get overly confident some more when I shouldn’t.  I’ll probably doubt myself more than I would like.  I’ll probably have typing errors in my blogs and not have time to care.  I will submit my manuscript on December 15.

This is everything I wanted.