distraction no.99

Nova Ren Suma | On Writing & Writing Distractions

Not an Author Newsletter… something else.

Submission Avoidance

I am trying not to think about the pages I sent off in the mail this morning. To whom. For what. To what end. I can’t let my thoughts linger on them because I have been known to get swept up, up, and away, and then the fall is that much harder. I won’t talk about them until there is an outcome, and maybe not even then. Bring it up and I’ll talk instead about the weather.

This should be my new method: complete and total misdirection.

Q: What, I didn’t know you were a writer! Are you writing a novel?

A: (pointing wildly) Oh my god, over there . . . was that a mouse?!

Q: So do you have an agent yet?

A: (pointing wildly) Oh my god, over there . . . was that Paul McCartney?

Et cetera.

Also, I have not yet been able to submit my stories. I have the envelopes. The SASEs. Now I have the stamps for the SASEs. What I do not have are the photocopies of the stories because the Kinko’s on Astor Place has a collection of the worst self-service copiers I have ever known. Three are always broken at any given time, and the ones that do work are either (a) prone to copying horizontal lines straight across your pages for no reason other than they don’t like you, or (b) commandeered by a girl copying flyers for her rock show, which, personally, I think is worthy of the hogging of the one good copier, so I don’t hover and just let her be.

Could a badly copied story ruin a person’s chance of publication? A part of me doesn’t care. Another part of me sort of does care. So I am opting to put this saga aside and deal with it tomorrow.

Of course, this is the way I handle most things in life, for example, my finances. My mom calls it my Scarlett O’Hara. I do the same with the dishes.

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5 responses to “Submission Avoidance”

  1. I am the same way and the fact that I have only had one poem and one essay published in the last ten months is proof of this. Out of about ten submissions during the same time span I guess it is a good thing that I got at least that many pieces of writing published (2 out of 10 is not that bad of an acceptance rate). I just wonder how far along I would be in my writing career if I had submitted, say, twenty or fifty written pieces of work in the last ten months instead of my paltry ten.

  2. (you’ll get to it when you get to it…and after girl with rock fliers finishes…no pressure)

    I used to avoid doing laundry in much the same way. There’s always, for example, some other person washing their much nicer clothes.

  3. I’ve worked very hard to cultivate my inner Scarlett O’Hara. She’s a part of my arsenal of tools that I use for Sanity Maintenance. Unfortunately, I may have gotten a little too in touch with her recently…

  4. I’m a long-time user of the complete and total misdirection approach. I might even be an expert at it, so I have some advice: stop at the “Oh my God, look over there” and just run like the wind in the opposite direction. It spares the ensuing awkwardness when the question-asker is like, “That wasn’t Paul! That was Ringo! What are you hiding from me?” Trust me, they will ask and it is more awkward than answering the original question.

    Jokes aside, it is hard talking about it. I wish there was an insta-cure for that. And I hope the Kinkos worked out.

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