“Extended Deadline.” These two words usually usher in a gentle breeze on which one can hear angels singing, “Gloria.” Instead, I’m a little frozen, a little scared that I could actually clean up the 1,865 word document that was supposed to be submitted two days ago. It wasn’t submitted because I thought I had until tomorrow. So I spent an hour with it yesterday, cutting out more excess than expected. There were a good 800 words that simply had to go. Delete. Bye bye great sentence that doesn’t match the flow.
I had a plan. I would figure out time today to create a solid ending, not leave things hanging in an unintentional limbo. I would submit the piece today, so as to avoid the possibility of the website crashing on June 6 when all who have procrastinated unite around the “Submit and Checkout” button. That was the extent of my plan which is actually quite normal for me. I get detailed on the work front but when it comes to personal life, I’m as vague as…vague.
It was sometime in January, I believe, when I decided to do this, decided to enter a writing competition. It has been over a decade since I’ve had this kind of courage/crazy in my bones. The decision was part of a larger plan to write more. And since we’ve now established my inability to create detailed plans for my personal life, this is kind of as far as I got: I want to write more. Oh, hey, here’s this competition. I’ll write every week and work toward the competition. I’ll post the competition detail info to the wall by my desk. I have so much time. Early bird deadline is in May. I’ll totally reach it.
It came and went, the deadline and the whole of May. The month was so heavy that I wonder if I need to unpack it, pen and paper. It makes sense that I didn’t have a ready manuscript. It makes sense that I didn’t check the final deadline. It makes sense that today, June 5, is when I actually checked the paper that had since fallen off my wall and read, “Final deadline: June 3.”
My shoulders fell a little. I didn’t experience a full-on sadness; it was more of a pout versus a cry. Okay, yes, I was disappointed. But I was also confused because two days ago, I had checked the website and I’m sure it had said June 6. Was it the right website? Did I check the wrong website? (Insert angry emoji.) There’s nothing as awful as being the cause of your false hope.
I returned to the website. That’s when I saw the two words that now have me writing all this. Extended deadline. I think it really means, “We haven’t received enough submissions to make this worthwhile. Help!”
Instead of thinking of the next two weeks as an opportunity to push through insecurity, I’m choosing to think of it as my opportunity to save a reputable magazine from having to cancel its annual competition. I mean, I should definitely step in.
Here we go.