Friday, October 9, 2015

Pressing SEND: Second Thoughts, Separation Anxiety, and Setting your Baby Free.

For the first time in my writing life I have pressed the SEND of no take backs and no returns. My book has received its final edit and is off to the press. This post hit me anew. Showing me not only how far I've come, but also how much I can still relate. Apparently it never ends! :) Is it just me????
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Sharing the story you have lovingly labored over for months, sometimes years, can give you an odd mix of anticipation and anxiety.

For me, since I still have toddlers and my stories can tend to become something like “my babies,” pressing send is the closest thing I know to sending my baby off to college. (And yes, I realize that makes me quite loony… I’m okay with it.) J

After you’ve finished your first draft, then proceeded to edit, and re-write, and nip, and tuck, and tweak, and polish ’til your eyes are crossed, you may wonder if you will ever get up the nerve to remove the training wheels and see if your baby has what it takes to cruise through to publication. Before any of that can happen we have to take that final deep breath, cut the cord, and submit.

But very often we can be gripped with uncertainty, doubts. Fear. Is it ready? Did you miss something? Are your first three chapters simply irresistible? Will the agent or editor keep reading long enough to get to the good stuff? Let’s face it, combing over 80K+ words is no small task and all you get is one shot to make the right impression.


So how do you know when you’re ready?

- When your edits dwindle down to word substitutions.

- When you can read through and those typos no longer leap out at you.

- When you are certain you’ve started your book in the right place. (i.e. Right in the action.)

- When your crit partner has talked you off the ledge for the 100th time. (Love you, Pepper!)

- When you have dedicated a round of edits to trimming out EVERY—and I do mean every—extra, unnecessary word to make your story as tight as possible.

- When you’ve cut so much backstory from the first fifty pages you’re basically bleeding while you are stitching up your manuscript.

- When you’ve had several people read over it and find the storyline sound. (And preferably enjoyable!)

- When you’ve actually applied the feedback you’ve gotten from others.

- When it’s not simply “good enough” but the best you can get it.

- AND when you’ve prayed long and hard.

I just pressed send on my third manuscript. And I’m still not sure it get’s any easier but with a good support system and a lot of prayer, being an empty-nester can bring some relief and rest before it all begins again with your next story.

What about you? What were your greatest worries when you pressed send? What tips do you have for other aspiring writers facing separation anxiety? Whether your story coasts beautifully to the top or crashes and burns at the bottom of that hill, putting yourself out there is half the battle. Be bold! Give your stories a chance to find their place.

Happy submitting!

Amy Leigh Simpson writes Romantic Suspense that is heavy on the romance, unapologetically honest, laced with sass and humor, and full of the unfathomable Grace of God. She is the completely sleep deprived mama to two little mischief makers and would challenge anyone to a cutest family contest. Represented by Chip MacGregor of MacGregor Literary Inc.


Jeanne Takenaka said...

Amy, this is great! I love the practical checklist. I haven't pressed "SEND" yet, but I hope to later this year I'm definitely coming back to this post once my fast draft is done, so I can use it to evaluate when I'm ready to press that button!

Jill Weatherholt said...

Thanks for the terrific checklist, Amy! Like Jeanne, I haven't pressed "SEND" at this point, only mailed short story submissions. I'll certainly print your list for future reference.

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

Thanks Jeanne!! I really hope it helps! Pressing send us never easy but it's a huge step toward your dream... And a necessary one at that! Anything that makes it easier! :)

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

So glad my neuroses are helpful to others! ;) as always, thanks for coming by Jill!!!

Lindsay Harrel said...

Congrats on hitting send! I haven't done it yet for this ms. I'm hoping to finish revisions by the end of this month. Then there's ACFW and I'll see what the reaction is from those I pitch to. If it's positive, then I'll probably hit send after that.

It's hard to know when you're really ready. I thought I was with my first ms because I'd done so many edits, etc. But there were larger plot problems and it got a few rejections. I pitched it last year and didn't receive any requests. That was my hint to move on to the next ms -- but take a lot of time to read craft books, attend MBT retreats, etc. this time around. I think it's made a big difference. But I never knew that until I sent that first one out there for some feedback. Being brave is crucial!! That being said, you also don't want to submit too soon...I think that's something I've struggled with.

Debbie Stehlick said...

Excellent suggestions here on the Alley! And I love your last tip... being prayerful about anything is always the way to go. Great post!

Pepper said...

The NEVER feel like it's ready part for me is my major procrastination problem.
I can tweak the poor thing to DEATH.
having an external deadline has been a good motivator for me -otherwise, I might never send anything :-)

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

Yeah, Linds, we do tend to have tunnel vision when it comes to our own words. That's why a writing partner is invaluable. Especially someone you can trust and who won't try to hinder your style. I think Pepper's advice about giving yourself a deadline is really good advice... Worked for me this time. Really helped me be more focused and methodical. Soooo excited about what's to come in your writing! :) if you need someone to talk you down off the SEND ledge, I'm your huckleberry!

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

Thanks Deb! Love that you always stop by and comment! ;)

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

And my dear sweet Pepper, you are oh so wise, as usual! The deadline really does work wonders for us perfectionist in procrastinators. :)

Krista Phillips said...


My latest SEND issue is hitting PUBLISH on my indie work. Holy cow. THAT is stressful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

Will it ever end????