The end of the year is nigh! Have you achieved your goal to finish your MS by the end of this year? You’re nearly ready to submit? Fantastic! New Year approacheth! Go thou verily, hop thou merrily… right into the gargantuan end-o-year slush pile!
September to December is Wordy Bird’s busiest time of the year for editing, but December is my consistently my busiest month by a long shot. In fact, in December my bird feeder runneth over. It’s the month I get:
· the most work (super!)
· the highest number of requests for quotes than any other (lovely!)
· the most umbrage (“What? You can’t you fit me in before the end of January? But I want to submit by New Year!")
· and the most requests that hover somewhere between ignorant, flabbergasting, and just plain rude. (“Since your extensive developmental edit and lengthy critique showed me I need to actually rewrite some of my MS, will you edit the next draft for nothing since I can’t use any of your editing?”)
Ummm, I beg your pardon? Did you really just ask me to work for free? Will you style my feathers/diagnose my illness/cook my restaurant meal/ [insert occupation here] for free? If so, we have a deal; WB supports a fair barter system.
So what does this mean? It means that Wordy Bird would like to remind writers that it's the holiday season for editors and agents, too. You may feel an overwhelming need to submit your MS by New Year. But they won't feel an overwhelming need to receive it. They’re too busy drinking eggnog, hugging their loved ones, and recuperating- just like you.
So relax. Stop racing toward the finish line. The finish line is utterly overwhelmed right now, and I'd hate to think your work is getting lost in all that. Drink some more eggnog! If that doesn't work, spike it, and have another. Then go revise. In fact, spend all of January revising. And spend half of February revising your query letter. And the other half:
· hugging your beloved
· reading to your children
· playing with your pet
· communing with nature
· doing charitable works
· getting some much needed exercise
· and/or [insert hobby here].
Then, and only then, work up to submitting. Perhaps by then the slush pile—overflowing with offerings from all those eager end-of-year-goal submitters—may have diminished just a little.
Drink up! Chill out! And, very Happy Holidays.