Hitting the Send Key

Ann H Gabhart Ann's Posts, One Writer's Journal

I just sent off my new Shaker book to my agent and my editor before my deadline tomorrow, July 1. It’s a good thing I had a deadline on this one or I’d probably still be dragging my feet and trying to figure out what happened next in the story. I had to really push myself to get Lacey’s story told and say a few prayers for inspiration.

The truth is I feel that way on nearly every book I write. There comes a place in the middle where things just bog down and I find myself in the doldrums. I’ve always liked that word – doldrums. Doesn’t it just look and sound like what it is? But on the other hand, I don’t like finding myself in the doldrums when I’m writing. That’s when you have to start puffing at the sails, praying up some wind or dipping your oars in the water to push your boat (story) to a better place on the sea of storytelling.

I did huff and puff and pray and row through the doldrums to get my story told and I’m hoping I got it told in an entertaining way. But with Mr. Deadline almost ready to knock on my door, I didn’t have quite as much time to work it over as I usually like to have. I wanted to read it over one more time before I hit that send button, but then again I always want to read over whatever I’m working on one more time. I want to catch every mistake, change every awkward bit of phrasing, make it perfect. And I can’t. I’m not perfect. I will never be perfect. There will always be one more word that I could change to bring the action more to life or that will smooth the writing. Always. I have to be satisfied with making my writing as near to perfect as I can. And face the facts that while smooth writing is certainly good, the story is more important. Tell a great story and the writing can be fixed. So of course I want to do both. Tell a great story and make my writing smooth at the same time. It’s good to have goals.

I’ve always set myself goals even when I wasn’t fortunate enough to have Mr. Deadline marching toward my door. In those days I had to set my own deadlines with hope that an editor somewhere might eventually like my story. But I did have my own deadlines that I usually missed by a few months because I always thought I’d have more writing time than I ever actually did. Still it was good to have those self-imposed deadlines so that I could stay focused on finishing and moving forward with my writing. You can talk about writing and think you want to write more than anything in the world but until you put your fingers on the keyboard or pick up a pen or pencil, no writing gets done. So thinking about when I wanted to have a project finished helped me stay motivated to dig those words out of my head.

And so I’ve hit the send key on a new book. That’s a lot different than it used to be when I typed everything and then carried it to a copy shop to make a copy. I was the pits at doing carbons. Not a good enough typist for that. Word processors have made my fingers even lazier, but now I just have to be a good proofreader. So then after I paid the what to me was an exorbitant amount per page for copying my manuscript, I bundled it all up and took it to the post office. Now I hit a send key and off it goes. Sometimes that’s almost scary easy. You just know that somewhere in that manuscript there’s a glaring mistake you forgot to change but the send key has been hit. You can’t call it back. You just have to sit back and wait. A nervous time for a writer like me.

At least I can hear the good things readers are saying about The Seeker, and having The Seeker out on the market is proof that I did it before. Maybe the magic will happen again with this new book I just sent in.

My first book launch is Friday night hosted by Corinth Parable Bookstore in Frankfort, KY. If you’re in the area, come by and say hello and tell me what you like to read. Thanks for reading and I really appreciate those of you who follow this blog and your encouraging comments.