Justine: It’s Bang-My-Head-On-The-Desk Time

drinkI had planned a completely different post for today, but it’ll have to wait for another week. Instead, I’m going to share with you my major SNAFU (you do know what that acronym means, right? If not, read this) that happened just this evening. I think most of us have been there at one point in time — drowning in a major screw-up — and when we have, we’ve just wanted to bang our heads on the table over and over again.

As many of you know, I’ve been working towards the Golden Heart contest sponsored by RWA, as have a few other Ladies, for several months now. Well, today was “due day” for the final version of our manuscript. Because of a variety of reasons, which I’m not going to go into (but they involve kids, laundry, and a new puppy who’s gone from “charming” to “Cujo” in a matter of weeks), I still had some final finishing up to do on my MS, which I planned to do today. We’re talking minor stuff, like making sure it looked good in Word and making the PDF. This evening, after getting the kids at school and taking them to tae kwon do, I finished the changes, logged into the website, and when I clicked on the Register link to upload my revised manuscript, I got this message:

Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 7.36.37 PM

Yep. You’re reading that right. I missed the deadline.

You’re probably wondering how. Well, Arizona does not participate in Daylight Savings Time. Eight months out of the year, there’s a 3-hour time different from EDT, 2 hours from CDT, etc. I guess I must have thought I was on PDT, because I calculated that 7 p.m. my time was the cut-off for the entry. Actually, it was 4:00 p.m. Not only was I forgetting we were on standard time, I was calculating it backwards.

Can you tell I’m not a numbers person?

The only (minor, very minor) consolation I have is that when I registered at the beginning of December, I had to upload something, so I sent in what I had at the time, which wasn’t terrible. My sister (wonderful, supporting woman that she is) said that if what I uploaded is what I had sent her to review (it was), then I shouldn’t worry. She thought it was pretty good, and she’s a discriminating historical romance junkie.

Still. Stupid. So stupidly stupid.

My only hope is that what I wrote is good enough to final. That’s all I really wanted to do anyway. Winning would be nice, but it’s not my goal. So tonight, as I finish laundry, try keep a dog from biting me, and bang my head on the table (again) from my own stupidity, I’m going to have a drink. A nice, big, strong one.

And you, fair reader? Learn from Auntie Justine and make sure you submit your contest entries the day BEFORE they’re due! JUST IN CASE!



19 thoughts on “Justine: It’s Bang-My-Head-On-The-Desk Time

  1. Oh, what a rotten thing to happen! You deserve that drink. Take a deep breath, get a good night’s sleep . . . and check when the next contest deadline is on your calendar. You are still making progress! Tomorrow it will be two steps forward.

  2. I’m so sorry, Justine. Good thing you already had something good in the can! I don’t pay much attention to contests, but isn’t the Golden Heart the one that they close whenever they get 1,200 manuscripts? Either that or the deadline. So it’s possible that even had you gotten the timing right for January 12, the contest might have closed, say, last December.

    Not that that’s much of a consolation. Here’s hoping that what you sent is enough to get the job done.

    • Yes, you’re right, they close it at 1,200 entries. I’m glad I had something in there. We’ll find out if what I sent works. If not, I can try again next year.

  3. Nightmare, Justine! As you say, we’ve all been there at one time or another – you’ve given me the cold shivers. I did it once, way back in the day, with a million-pound VAT return. Ugh.

    You have what you uploaded in December, and you’d done a ton of work on that already so I’ll bet it’s fine. We all know we need to have a great manuscript AND strike lucky with our judges to final. They have to love us, not just like us a lot, and that’s in the lap of the gods. If you don’t get there, I think it will be because your story isn’t a perfect fit for your judges, not because you didn’t do the last little bit of polishing.

    Keeping my fingers crossed for you, and all of us!

    • What Jilly said. That’s so true about contests. You need three judges (or four or five, depending on the contest) to give you perfect scores. And that means a set of circumstances that almost go beyond a great manuscript. However, all that said, wishing all the best for you!

  4. Unless most of the work you did was in the first 50 pages, it doesn’t matter, because you’ll be able to resubmit your full manuscript after (not if, AFTER) you final.

    Now, in the interests of minimizing your feeling of stupidity by giving you something much stupider to compare against, let me share that I just drove my car through the back of my garage. I’m okay, the dog’s okay, the garage is not okay, the car is not okay (and it was new– less than 4K miles). When I went to put on the brake, my foot got stuck on the floor mat. I panicked and hit the accelerator. Now I’m waiting for the insurance office to open so I can schedule an adjuster. Don’t even want to think about what this is going to do to my rates. Bet they’ll wish now they hadn’t bugged me to put the house on the same policy with the car.

    See? Don’t you feel much smarter now?

    • Thanks for the positive thinking, Jeanne.

      I’m SO sorry about your car and garage, but SO GLAD to hear the important breathing and furry things are okay. I hope it’s not too much to get it repaired. Is your garage attached to the house? If I did that in my house, the car would go into my office, which is just on the opposite side of the garage.

      Crossing fingers that the repairs go smoothly.

    • Oh goodness, Jeanne! Glad you are OK!

      I have managed to tangle with garages three times in my life. Mostly while backing out, then scraping the sides or in one case, ripping the front fender off. Hope your insurer is kind and quickly forthcoming.

  5. Agreeing with everything said here. The first 50 pages is what matters and I’m sure they are great. It is so not stupid to upload it early and polish later. That is smart. As a grants person in my day job, deadlines are so critical that most experienced grantseekers submit early. Smart!

  6. Poor, poor, poor you – it’s so easy to do. At least you’ve submitted something, plus just the very act of getting ready for the competition (even if you didn’t quite enter it as you intended) gave you a deadline for your WIP, which is one of the main points of it really (of course, I know it would be brilliant to final, but that is dependent on so many things that it’s almost in the lap of the gods).

    I’d love to read it whenever you’re looking for more beta readers (I lost your email address when my laptop broke a couple of months ago, so can’t email you) – just let me know if it would be at all useful at any point because I’m keen to find out what’s happening with Nate and Susannah.

    And Jeanne – I feel so sorry for you too – what a pain.

    • Thanks, Rachel, I’d love to have you beta read. I’ve got a few more scenes done since the first few and want to make sure the story is progressing nicely. However, I’d like to wait until after the Eight Ladies Writing Retreat, though, which is end of Jan. I still have your email and will ping you. You can always message me through Twitter, too!

  7. Ugh. I’m so sorry to hear you missed the deadline. Those of us on East Coast time can get spoiled by the fact that so much of the business world (in the US) accommodates our time zone.

    And Jeanne, sorry to hear about your car and garage, but the most important thing is that you (and the dog) are safe.

    • Having lived on the east coast much of my life, I didn’t realize how spoiled I was regarding TIME. I’ve put up a cheat sheet on my desk, so now I know what time it is in all the Eight Ladies’ time zones and when.

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