Brace yourselves, this is a long one, but I think you’ll enjoy it
It should be no surprise by now that I’m a major NFL fan. I wait for football season like some kids wait for Christmas. To be more precise, I wait for the Saints to play.
I’ve been a Saints fan since I was a child. I grew up with this team and while I spent most of my youth with no idea what the team colors were, or what our emblem looked like (you have to realize, our games were ALWAYS blacked out), I knew that this was my team. Bobby Hebert, the Cajun Cannon. Pat Swilling, Dalton Hilliard, Reggie Jackson, Sam Mills. These were names bandied about through my developing years.
So, you’re probably asking yourself ‘Is she ever going to get to the point of this post she tricked me into reading?’. Why, yes. I am
After all of these years as a football fan, I’m now writing and suffering through all the ups and downs writers go through. There’s the normal hair-pulling-my-characters-are-driving-me-crazy-and-I-can’t-sleep phase of writing the manuscript. This is what I would compare to training camp. This is when all of your players show up and start doing their thing, building a strong team for the upcoming season.
Then there’s the oh-my-God-I-finished-I-finished!-what-do-you-mean-I-have-to-edit-it? phase when the manuscript is complete. This is comparable to preseason. You’re putting your players out there for the world to see and critiquing them on their performance. If they suck, you cut them. The same with editing/critiquing your manuscript. You’re weeding out what doesn’t work and finding replacements for what does.
Followed by the what-the-blue-blazes-do-you-mean-I-have-to-send-it-to-someone? phase which is when your manuscript is ready for submission to an agent/editor. This, of course, is after the I-have-an-agent-pitch-and-I-think-I’m-going-to-puke stage, but that passes relatively quick since most pitches are no more than 15 minutes. To me, these two stages are the regular ups and downs of the NFL season. Your team is out there, they’re doing their best to win and they suffer through growing pains. They’re losing one week, winning the next. Just like the pitches you’re tossing out to the editors and agents you meet with. Then comes the win! Someone wants to read a partial or a full of your manuscript. It’s scary, it’s exhilarating.
After all of these stages of writing, editing, editing some more, pitching, and submitting, then it’s time for the waiting phase. You wait and pray. Wait and pray that those agents or editors will like what you’ve read. Finally, this is followed by one of two outcomes: you get either the we’re-sorry-but-this-doesn’t-fit-our-needs rejection, or you get the holy-hell-you’re-so-getting-published acceptance. I personally haven’t reached the second stage yet, but that’s okay. It’s a process. So this final phase I’m going to compare to the Superbowl. *cracks her knuckles*
On one hand you’ve got your manuscript. On the other, you’ve got your agent/editor. These are the opposing teams. Your manuscript has battled its way through rejection after rejection. It’s bloody from all the editing you’ve done. It’s bruised around the edges from scenes that have been tweaked so many times it really should be on injured reserve. The day is here. The editor/agent is looking over your work. The outcome has you sick with nerves, edgy with anticipation. You want it so badly you can almost taste it. And then-
Well, I don’t know what happens in your own Superbowl. I just know that whatever the outcome, you’ll either feel depressed or jubilant. The point is, the teams who go to the Superbowl play the next season. They can’t give up and neither can you. Writing is a sport. It’s a sport with one person against many and only through diligence, training, and lots of bruises can you get to the top.
So, did I totally lose you, or did the analogy work? I loved it myself, but then I’m sometimes called strange.