Today, I received an invitation, of sorts, to submit my work to a new journal. Given that I’m trying to respond to invitations, I thought I’d go with this one. Besides, it’s been a while since I sent anything out for review.

Submitting work is a tedious process. I have to format each manuscript for each journal. I have to find addresses for submission and then figure out whether I need envelopes and stamp, can send it as an attachment or paste it into the body of an email. I have to track the submission (I recommend my friend Josiah‘s method of keeping an Excel spreadsheet) and then follow-up if I don’t hear from them. This is not the most glorious part of the writing process.

I have a piece pretty much ready to go, and I was giving it that final read-through, you know the one where I change a comma to a dash and then to a semi-colon and then back to a dash for a good hour. The piece feels good – or as good as it will feel until I send it off and suddenly realize it would have been better as firestarter. I know where to send it and in what format. I’m all set.

Then, I encountered two problems:
1. The essay is 400 words too long for the journal I was considering. I could trim it, of course, but that doesn’t feel right. The piece reads fairly tight to me. So I sent an email to the journal to see if they’d like to read it anyway. No harm if they say no, right? I thought I’d have to wait a while, but the editor wrote back immediately. They “can be flexible on length.” One problem down.

2. Word’s Auto-Format has stressed me out again. I have these asterisks to separate sections of my essay. When I put them in, I can get rid them if I immediately hit “backspace.” (Who knows how I figured that out?) But in this case, something evil has happened and the lines keep coming back – the Daleks from Dr. Who come to mind. Just when I think I’ve removed them, they reappear. I delete a paragraph; the lines move up. I delete the sentence before and after the line – the line moves down. Meanwhile, the knot between my shoulder blade gets tighter and tighter.

I will figure out the “line issue” (and any tips are much appreciated), but this morning’s submission experience reinforces a key thing about writing, I think – nothing worthwhile ever comes without some tedium. If you love to crochet, as I do, you still have to tie off the ends of your work, a task I hate. If you like to work-out, you have to get dressed and head out the door. If you love to work wood (like my dad), you have to wait for your shop to warm up on a 12 degree day before you can have fingers nimble enough to insure safety with the saw. The glorious requires the tedious, it seems.

So I will get these lines out of this essay. I will record the information in my spreadsheet, and send it as an attachment (according to their guidelines). This, too, is writing.

Word Autoformat – Evil Autoformat. 🙂