By AMY MULLIS
The Enter key is a dragon with sharp claws and teeth that drip the blood of those who dared to trespass. It whiles away the time, resting to the right of my pinky, daring me to press that button that sends my work out into the world. Sure, it comes in handy when I’m typing To Do lists or recipes for leftover chicken, but when I’ve put together a query letter or finished up a heartwarming essay, the Enter key takes on a whole new persona. The teeth come out and it chews up my tender ego like a sawmill grinding lumber into sawdust.
What exposes you more than visiting a nude beach?
What uncovers your insecurities more than the boss scheduling a performance review?
What reveals your anxieties quicker than a dinnertime call from your kid’s teacher?
Sending your work to an editor.
Several friends in my online writing group expressed similar issues. Motivating ourselves to stay in our chairs long enough to finish a project was difficult, but convincing ourselves to send our darling babies out into the world was harder than turning down chocolate cheesecake. With the spirit of camaraderie and encouragement, we became the Just Hit Send Group. We encourage one another to create our best work, send it out into the world and start on another piece.
Procrastination results in missed opportunities. Even though the only thing scarier than someone reading my work is someone not reading my work, I find excuses around every query to avoid hitting that button that launches my words into the ether. One example is a short piece I wrote to submit to a contest.
I finished my essay on Monday.
On Tuesday I cleaned the kitchen, even the gummy places around the knobs on the stove that you have to use a toothbrush to reach. Then I read my essay and changed the ending. Why didn’t I think of that wording before?
On Wednesday I re-read the essay and decided the opening paragraph lacked punch. I binge-watched The Big Bang Theory reruns until Penny and the gang convinced me to try again.
On Thursday I caught up on laundry, even the cleaning rags at the bottom of the basket. I might need them any second to clean up puppy messes. (The puppy is now five years old.) I noticed that other entries in the contest probably had a lot more description than mine, so I added another paragraph.
On Friday I realised the extra paragraph was made up of extraneous material and fluff. I planned next week’s supper menus and ordered groceries online. As I was already on the Internet, I decided to plan ahead and order some new sweaters for the changing season. By the time I changed my essay again, it was impossible to recognise it from the idea I had when I began. I lost my original inspiration somewhere between brushing my teeth and folding towels.
The idea isn’t new, and the solution is the oldest one in the book – and it could be your book! Believe in yourself and your abilities. The more times I submitted my work, the easier it became. My group came up with the perfect plan: do your best, follow up with needed revisions and follow their advice. JUST HIT SEND!
About the Author
Amy Mullis lives and writes in upstate South Carolina where she recently (43 days, but who’s counting?) retired as an Administrative Assistant at a local church. Her writing has appeared in The Christian Science Monitor and Sasee magazine as well as Chicken Soup, Ultimate Series, and Cup of Comfort anthologies, as well as numerous online opportunities. She earned Honorable Mention accolades in the Erma Bombeck Competition. Share her “I Can’t Believe This Happened to Me” Moments on her blog, MindoverMullis.com.