Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Sending my baby off

Back in the fall of 1997 I sent my older son off to college. I still remember standing on the front porch, watching him drive away, waving at me through the sunroof of his gray Honda Accord.

Then in the fall of 2001 I sent my baby (who, by the way,turned 26 ten days ago) off to college.

So you'd think I would be used to sending babies off into the world.

Nope. Not when the baby in question is a 267 page manuscript that I invested small parts of several years, the entire month of November 2008 and a great deal of February, March and April 2009 in.

I wrote the majority of this book during NaNoWriMo last November, then finished it up in February so I could enter an online pitch contest. Much to my surprise, I finaled and then had to pitch the book online to the editor of Silhouette Special Edition. I studied up almost as much as I did before giving birth the first time. I had a cheat sheet beside me during the pitch. I had the conflict written out in a open Word document, ready for cutting and pasting. I hoped I knew the answer to any question she could throw at me.

I guess I must have done okay because she asked for the full manuscript.

Uhm... I had the whole book written, but it was word vomit as one of the Playground's best friends likes to call it. And as we all know, vomit must be cleaned up. My original goal was to edit and revise and mail off the book by April 1st. Oops! Didn't happen. So my revised goal was April 10, my birthday.

April 10 started off okay but Mother Nature reared her head and we had tornadoes that day. At one point I was in the utility closet with the civil defense sirens blaring and my manuscript in my lap, marking away with my green pen. I was able to finish the revisions, enter them into the Word document, print off a clean copy of the manuscript and make it to the post office about 6:30 that afternoon. I used the automatic postage machine (greatest invention since the microwave) and before I put the package down the chute, I gave it a kiss for luck.

I met my goal. Happy birthday to me!

And now I wait -- just like I waited for my human babies to grow up, graduate and make their way in the world. It's all out of my control now and worrying about it serves no purpose except aggravating my already sensitive gastro-intestinal system.

I'm out of town this week, checking up on my mom. She has some usual age-related problems and perhaps a problem with one of her medications that needs to be discussed with her physician. At least this is keeping my mind off my baby being in the Big Apple. Well, almost. I think about it sometimes. OKAY, all the time. It's what a mother does. Right?

Meanwhile I've also been brainstorming an idea for the next book and revising a short story that exceeds some recently revised word count guidelines. I finished teaching an online class last Friday and am tying up loose ends with that this week too.

I'm trying to stay busy so I don't worry, but it doesn't entirely work. Those of you old enough may remember a TV commercial for Bayer children's aspirin where a little boy asked if his friend could come out to play. The mother replied that the little girl wasn't feeling well. "Does she hurt and have a temperature?" he asked. The mother assured him she was taking good care of her daughter, to which the boy replied, "Mothers are like that. Yeah they are."

This mother is like that. Yeah she is.

Have you sent a baby (human or otherwise) off into the world?

P.S. I still love this make-believe cover for the book. Don't Hugh? ;-)


Maven Linda said...

Ten million congratulations, PM, on getting that sucker ( uh . . . baby) in the mail! I remember it well: the panic, the tears, the upset stomach. I couldn't eat, almost literally. I lost thirty pounds -- and in those days, I didn't have thirty pounds to lose. (If that happened now, I'd celebrate.)

Being a writer changes your priorities. We've had a lot of bad weather this spring, necessitating four trips to the storm shelter. In each case, what did I grab? The manuscript. I can't lug that big desktop around with me, but I can sure take the hard copy of the ms. Yeah, a disk would be lighter, but I don't trust them; I've had too many that were damaged straight out of the box, or went bad on me after my ms was downloaded. Same with flash drives. Same with video cards. Some of them are just bad, or have bad places in them, and you don't know it until it's too late.

Hope your mom is doing okay, PM.

Linda Winstead Jones said...

I would love to worry enough about anything to lose 30 lbs. I tend to gravitate in the other direction . . .

Congrats, PM! I'll be keeping my fingers and toes crossed for you. :-)


Liza said...

Congrats PM for getting your baby out in the mail! I love Hugh on the cover...hope they let you keep him.

I don't have any kids of my own, but my oldest niece graduates from high school next month. All 3 of my nieces are like my own, so it is killing me that she will be in college next year. Of course, my sister has it much worse. Next year her oldest starts college, her middle starts high school, and her youngest starts kindergarden.

Problem Child said...

You will never forget it's out there. Trust me on that. But, no, you shouldn't dwell on that fact either :-)

We're proud of you!

Smarty Pants said...

Congrats on getting it out there. To me, its almost a relief to mail it because I can't fiddle with it anymore. I have to move onto something else.

And sometimes I do forget. Not for long, but I can get distracted by other things. Maybe its a self defense mechanism...

Sally said...

Yay! Congrats, PM! Don't stress about your baby. Instead maybe try thinking of it as your MS coming of age, into a *hopefully* soon-to-be published novel. She's gotta get out the door in order to do that, right? :D Best of luck! And take care of your mom!!

Lynn Raye Harris said...

Marilyn, I'm so happy for you that you completed that book and got it out there in the world!! Yeah, I understand the worry (love the picture! Gosh, I never thought of stuff like that. Only got a picture of me signing my contract because I believe it was Angel who told me I should.)

Wish I could lose 30 pounds. :) And now, you simply must get busy on another book! Takes your mind somewhat away from the one on submission. Not completely, of course. But it helps to be mired in a new plot and new people.

Hugs to your mother. Hope all is well there. Love her comments on this blog. :)

M.V.Freeman said...

I absolutely adore that make believe cover for your book!

And, I cheer heartily at your sending off the MS, despite the dastardly weather.


Angel said...

I'm big on the pictures, Lynn!! Ask any Playfriend.. I'm always nagging about the camera. Speaking of which, mine pic is now up on the RWA National site. Yikes!!! I'm so excited all over again. (please excuse the shameless plug) :)

Yes, PM, you simply must immerse yourself in a new book. That's what I always do and it helps me to focus on what's important, the part I can control, the writing. For heaven's sakes, if she loves it, you have to have an answer to the question, "What else do you have?" So get busy!!!


Lynn Raye Harris said...

NO, NO, NO! You MUST always shameless plug, Angel dear! You worked hard and you deserve it! And now I'm going over to lookie at the pics.

I'm much more likely to have my camera with me these days. Hope I finally learned my lesson. :)

Christine said...

Congratulations! Love the picture--I have a huge crush on him. And best of luck with the MS--YOU DID IT!! Now it's time to forget about it and move on to the next writing adventure.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Marilyn!!!!
And yes, my only baby is about to finish high school, yea!!! Unfortunately he doesn't really know what he wants to do after.