Fifteen minutes ago I finished my latest manuscript, a collection of forty-two short stories targeted at teen boys. I completed the drafts in March and have spent the time since then revising before I submit the project to publishers. Most of the work has been done over the past two weeks when I didn’t have any distractions from a day job.
I should feel elated. At least relieved. It hasn’t set in yet. There will be a little more tinkering with the order of presenting the short stories and some contemplation as to which ones to submit as samples. Also, I’ve got to refine my cover/query letter. I expect to mail the project by the middle of next week. Once I actually hand it over to the postal worker, I think I will feel that sense of accomplishment.
It’s important to celebrate in some way. Before the rejections come in. (If they do. My first book was accepted by the first publisher. A fluke, I’m told.) No matter how dismissive and formulaic the rejection letter, nothing can take away from the fact I completed a writing project that began a year ago. I enjoyed every part of the writing. The short stories—and let me emphasize short—allowed me to bounce about from idea to idea. The collection began as a constructive diversion from another novel I was working on. That manuscript remains incomplete, something that has sat cold for many months. It’s harder to dive back into a novel than a set of short stories.
When I started out, I planned to write forty. I feared I might run out of ideas after a dozen stories. Fortunately, the synopses were plentiful. Just yesterday, I jotted down ideas for more. Sure, I need someone to accept the original set, but I am getting excited about a sequel. Writing doesn’t stop; it just changes course, if only slightly.