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Signed, Sealed, Delivered

February 26, 2010 1 comment

After an intense writing blitz, I finished my short story, revised it, and sent it on its way. It took hours. And hours. I far surpassed the 60 minutes a day I’ve been aiming for. On Sunday night, I worked for over three hours. On Monday, a full 90 minutes, on Tuesday, Wednesday and today I put in two hours a day.

All of that time spent was due mainly to the fast-approaching deadline. It was a strain, but I wanted to meet this mini goal. I wanted to do more than just finish a story – I wanted to polish it to the point where I felt it was worth spending the $5 to send it out for others to read and critique. I know that the story could have been better with more time, but it is what it is.

Two interesting notes cropped up over the revision process. My wife, who has been a rock for me throughout this process, read the story twice and smothered it in comments. Many professional writers advise against having loved ones read unpublished work. They fear that it will cause more tension than anything else. I found it to be a tremendous help though, and I don’t think that my wife is ready to kill me yet. She did, though, say that it was very hard to know how others will see the story because she was so involved in its creation from the beginning that she was unable to read it as a reader. She could only see it as an editor, and could not fully gage the sheer entertainment value and storytelling charm of the piece. That’s why I chose the literary journal I did. My story will get a blind reading and will be returned to me (in three months) with commentary. I hold little illusions about the likelihood of publication, but I hope to grow from the commentary.

The other point of interest is a bit less heady. Over the course of writing the story, each day I would save it as a new file, so that I could go back to older versions if needed. I enjoyed watching the size of those files slowly grow over time. The first day, the file was 11 kb. Day two saw the document more than double to 23 kb. By draft 11 – the day that I finished the full telling of the story – the document was 87 kb. The file that I printed and mailed today was 79 kb. The steady rise, then the slight fall, in the file size is exactly the pattern I hoped to see. My daily regimen yields slow but consistent progress, and the editing process reduces the file size because I’m cutting the worst 10%-15% of the content before the piece is submission-worthy.

For now, I’ll take the next two days off to celebrate my daughter’s 5th birthday. On Sunday I’ll return to my novel. I am excited to get back to that story.