I’m entering an unpublished manuscript in the League of Utah Writers contest. I thought it would be fairly easy to prepare the entry, since the manuscript was ready, just sitting on my hard drive. Silly Tristi! Here is the story of everything I’ve gone through to get this thing ready to go.
First, I thought I had enough ink in the printer. Well, I was wrong – I recently printed out a whole ‘nuther manuscript (that one for submission) and it took most my ink, unbeknownst to me. So I sat down to print out the contest entry, and the top half of each sheet came out nice and dark, but by the time the printer got to the bottom, the words had faded out.
So I sent my husband to the store to get another ink cartridge, and I got all settled down in my chair to print out the book. I reached into my paper stash and came up empty handed. I’ve mentioned before that my children like to draw? Yeah, well, they do – on lots and lots of paper. I had ink, but nothing to print it out on.
Last night we all went to Costco and I grabbed a huge package of 900 sheets. I told my children that if they took that paper without asking, I’d make them rub my feet. The threat seemed to work – so far I haven’t had any paper thieves.
Okay! I’ve got ink and I’ve got paper! We’re set to go – no, we’re not. I had a root beer while out at Costco and I think there must have been caffeine in it – I went to bed sick as a dog.
Now it’s the 14th. The entry has to be postmarked no later than the 15th. I’m feeling nervous. I think about it all day. I get the book printed out, and then I realize I have to write a synopsis to go along with it, and I’m coming up blank. I can’t formulate what I want to say. How can I condense this book into two pages and make it sound interesting?
Just ten minutes ago, I carefully placed all the components in a box and closed the lid. My entry form and check, my synopsis, the required two copies of an excerpt, and the manuscript itself are all safely tucked away. It’s only 1 am on the morning of the 15th. As long as I mail it today, we’re good to go.
I don’t know if all this was a sign that entering was the right thing to do, or if it was a sign that I shouldn’t have entered at all. It definitely was a sign that I shouldn't be so cocky, thinking it would be a snap to prepare. Next year I'm going to start getting ready about a month before the deadline. If nothing else comes out of this, at least I'll have learned that lesson.