Thursday, July 14, 2011

Wasn’t that the bell?

Kind of like this boy. Although I wasn't a boy. I'm still not a boy.
Normally I loved school. But one day I sat in my fifth grade classroom with my mind a million miles away, thoroughly unable to concentrate. Maybe I had spring fever. Or ants in my pants. Or just sick-of-school-itis. Whatever it was, I didn't think I could stay in my seat for another second, and that's when the bell finally rang.

Ahh. I had made it! I ran to the coat racks, yanked my backpack off the hook, and nearly ran outside. (Except I didn't run because running is against the rules!) On the way out, my friend Amber said, “Hey, do you want to play a game of four square?”

I thought two things. First, No way! I am so done with this day! I’m outta here! Second, How is she going to have time to play? She rides the bus home! I muttered a “No, thanks,” and headed to the nearest door outside, which was also the door to the playground.

What I saw when I pushed the door open baffled me. I stood and stared as not only my class, but the entire fifth and sixth grade was playing! Why weren’t they going home?! Was there some kind of planned after school event that I had somehow missed hearing about? Was it just THAT nice of a day that everyone felt like they just HAD to stay and play longer?

It took a minute to realize that the bell I thought meant school was out was really just the bell to go to recess. I thought I’d finally finished, but I STILL HAD MORE SCHOOL DAY AHEAD OF ME. As I stood there holding my backpack, ready to bolt for the exit, I wasn’t sure I could handle walking back into school when recess was over.

Tell me you've done that before. Us confused recess kids have to stick together! What? Some of you haven't had to explain why you took your backpack out to recess? Oh. Did you do like I did and just hid your backpack in an alcove and waited until school was actually over to retrieve it? Good thinking.

I thought I was done with my last book. Completely ready to query and send off to any agent who asked for it. I mean I had gone through nine full revisions! It had been beta read by so many great people! I felt like it really rocked! Then a few things happened at nearly the same time, involving a really tough critique, several “how did I not realize that before!” suggestions, and me finally figuring out how to incorporate those first few chapter descriptions more effectively.

I realized that for my book the bell hadn’t rung to go home! I still had work to do! My book was really good.... but it wasn’t great yet. And if I want the absolute best chances of getting published, I have to go for great, even if it means heading back in again.

Heading back into school in fifth grade didn’t exactly KILL me, even if I thought it might. I mean I actually made it through the rest of the day unscathed! I know. It surprised me, too. So I guess if that didn't kill me, then this won't, either.

So what do you do when you need to talk yourself into facing work you thought was already done?


Kristine said...

The opposite happened to me... and you were there to witness it. Remember when we both started college together? (You were going back, of course.) And I took that sign language class. I thought I knew enough that it would be a breeze. It wasn't. They ended class early and I thought it was just a break because I didn't understand A THING! I went into the hall to find you and you pointed out that people had their backpacks and were going home. I was really embarrassed walking back into the classroom to get my stuff.

If I was a publisher, you would be home and not on recess. Personally, I thought it was PERFECT.

Ozzland said...

Hmm, I don't know that I have a walk out or in memory.

I do recall being expelled the last day of school 3 years running in elementary, and then in high school when a teacher had me stand on my desk so the class could cheer for to try to get my need for attention over with (which didn't turn out well for her!)

Other then those I got nothing, at least nothing that would fit well with the moral of your inquire. :P

i'm erin. said...

Aw Peggy. Great story. I'm sorry that you have to go back to 5th grade with your book. I think it's fabulous and I would publish it. Then again, I don't wear deodorint and I think people should only live in Pleasant Grove so what do I know.

Lynda R Young said...

I've recently gone through this with my ms too. When this happened I take a break and then I get back to work.

Janet said...

Aw great story, loved it

Peggy Eddleman said...

Kristine-- Hahaha! I totally remember that! Of course it's not easy to forget something that makes you laugh so hard. Or for so long. And thanks!

Ozzland-- You rebel, you.

Erin-- Thanks for your would-be-publishness. Even though we all know never to trust someone who doesn't wear deodorant. :)

Lynda-- It's always so great to hear when other people go through the same thing! I think I've given it as much of a break as I can. The weight on my shoulders just has to be removed soon, and the only way that's going to happen is with WORK. I hope everything has gone swimmingly with your ms!

Janet-- Thanks!!

Lydia K said...

That's a disheartening feeling. But in the end, if you know it'll take your MS from fabulous to uber-fabulous, that alone will provide a great incentive and take away the bad feeling.

Peggy Eddleman said...

Lydia-- Totally. Thanks for the reminder!