Back in the long ago, shortly after I started this blog, I made a vow: I wouldn't be that guy. You know the type—the one that, after he gets the agent, is constantly playing The Agent card. Kind of like this:
I haven't had an agent very long, and I've done fairly well, so far, but once in a while, I'm going to have to do it. This weekend, I completed another set of revisions on the project still being known as BARTON'S WOMEN and sent them back to Carrie. When I opened up her latest marked up version, I sped through it, to get a sense of how many suggested changes or comments there were—there weren't. And, at the risk of divulging too much, Carrie's cover e-mail indicated that we would pretty soon be ready to start the next step, the submission process.
Now, let me tell you, the temptation was strong to just go and answer the one comment she had put in the MS, save it, and send it back. Submission time, woot woot! But I remembered advice I had given a week or two before to someone on Absolute Write: this person had completed a draft and was trying to give it a month or two of resting time, but…but they were worried someone else might have the idea, they were tempted to polish it now, etc., etc. My advice: DON'T. RUSH. Just like that, two sentence fragments, all caps. Thinking of that, I spent most of all day Saturday and Sunday going through the manuscript, and I'm glad I did. In addition to finding some typos that Carrie and I both missed, I found some other silly mistakes—missing periods, double periods, missing and extra words. I also cleaned up an inconsistency I had as to whether one of my characters had a brother and two sisters, or one each, and made some further fine tuning throughout. Odds are, none of these things would have been cause for rejection by an editor, but it's up to us to send out the best possible product we can.
The temptation to rush is even greater when one is near a major milestone, just as one sometimes rushes when they near the end of a long journey. I'm reminded of the fact that most car accidents reportedly occur within 3 miles of home. While this is likely due to the fact that most driving is probably done within 3 miles of home, I expect a good part of it is either due to being too comfortable on that familiar ground, or because of the "Hurry up, I need to use the bathroom" (or kickoff, or Project Runway) factor. I didn't want to rush and miss something important. I didn't want to be a statistic. Take time with your projects, friends, that's the best thing to do.
On a sad note, I saw in my blog feeder last night that author/blogger Cynthia Chapman Willis passed away earlier in the month following a long fight with lung cancer. I didn't know Cynthia, except through our respective blogs, but she always struck me as a positive individual. I always enjoyed her posts, and the personal way she interacted with everyone who stopped by her blog. Condolences to her friends and family.