A Writer’s Interpretation of a “Maybe”

Note: The following is a re-post from July, but I thought it would make a nice kick off for NaNoWriMo Week #2.  Sometimes the possibility of a “maybe” may be all a writer needs to keep on keeping on. 


12:31 pm: Dear Diary, Oh!  Mail’s here.  I’ll just have a quick look — a few manuscripts circulating.

12:32 pm: Oh joy! Oh bliss!  My poem to the magazine I have desperately been trying to break into…was not immediately rejected!  I received a postcard with my name and address handwritten on the front and a note on the back saying, “We are considering your manuscript for publication, and we’ll be in contact soon.”  This part was pre-printed, but the title of my manuscript was written in blue ink.  Ink! An actual person taking their time with an actual pen.  It’s going to be published…maybe…

1:30 pm: Have called my husband, best friend, neighbor and old high school English teacher Mrs. C.  Must have had bad connection with Mrs. C. — line went dead after my greeting, “This is your favorite writing phenom.”  Hmmm?…

2:30pm: Finished re-reading poem and cover letter about five or ten times. OK, twenty-three times, to see if I can get a feel for what the editor is thinking by osmosis.  Feeling very confident…

3:45pm: Not so confident now.  Re-read poem approximately sixty more times, and noticed two commas that may be unnecessary.  Also, realized I used the word “so” three times on cover letter.   It will be rejected.  I’m getting used to the idea.

On second thought–

6:30pm: Just got home from celebration dinner with husband.  Near-success feels euphoric!  Wonder how we’ll celebrate when actual acceptance arrives?

8:35pm: Trying to work on short story, but am staring at afore-mentioned glossy postcard.  The handwriting of my name is so neat and precise — a mini-masterpiece.  Their beautiful penmanship must directly equate with the strength of their love of my work.  It’s going to be published!

9:05pm: What if everyone gets these little postcards?  What if they just send them out automatically after a certain period of time to all of the lowly slush pile inhabitants to buy themselves another twelve weeks to shuffle envelopes?!  That’s it.  Not even a maybe. It’s hopeless.  Putting it out of my mind now.

9:06pm: However…it takes more time (and money) to write out the postcard than to just take a quick look at my manuscript and send it back rejected.  So they like it.  Maybe they love it!  Maybe they love it so much that they’ll recommend me to an agent, so I can pitch finally pitch my book.  And then if it won an award or two…the possibilities…the interviews….and, oh!  Note to self: Schedule eyebrow wax and start Pilates class.  Must do battle with the television’s extra twenty pounds.  Off to bed for beauty rest…

10:30pm: Trying to sleep but postcard keeps scratching my cheek…will stick it under pillow now.

2:30am: ZZZZZZ yes thank you, ZZZZZZ, Pulitzer was a surprise.  Owe it all to the magazine that had so much faith…..ZZZZZZ

4:30am: ZZZZZZ…AAh! Nightmare!  Too many adverbs…Delete! Delete! ZZZZZZ

8:00am: Ironing out postcard and putting it away now. Will not look at it anymore. Will not think about it anymore…too many things to do.  I am, after all, a writer.  I will go up to my computer, and just write.

10:30am: Gave up on writing, and went to the library to skim through[picapp align=”right” wrap=”true” link=”term=questioning&iid=180058″ src=”http://view3.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/180058/caucasian-woman-wondering/caucasian-woman-wondering.jpg?size=500&imageId=180058″ width=”200″ height=”275″ /] four years of back issues of magazine.  Could find no poem like mine.  Is that good or bad?  Maybe my poem’s too different.  I wonder how soon, “we’ll contact you soon,” is?  Maybe I should make a quick call to check.

12:30pm: Successfully stopped myself from calling magazine.  Husband has confiscated little postcard, and is having whispered conversation on phone…thought I heard him say “Doctor?”  

Will now get back to work on other projects.  No more distractions.  Am completely focused on writing now. 

12:31pm: Oh!  Mail’s here.  I’ll just have a quick look…


*Find me on Twitter @amandahoving

28 thoughts on “A Writer’s Interpretation of a “Maybe””

    1. Thanks Kb. I should mention that this is (ahem) a ficticious account, although VERY 😉 loosely based on a “maybe” I received several years ago. And, it did eventually get published.


  1. I have such a love/hate relationship with the rereading. Love it, because I can see my sick love with the word, “so.” Hate it, because after awhile it starts to read like I’m having an aneurysm: nothing makes sense, the letters look like something off the Rosetta Stone, the internal chatter of the words in my head become like a scene from “A Beautiful Mind…”

    Or is that just me?

    Never Mind.

    Carry on.


  2. Great post. “Maybe” beats “No” anytime in my book. I was curious as to whether you ever received the “Yes” you were hoping for. Glad to see from your comment you did. That must have felt great!

    Good luck with Week 2 of NaNoWriMo.



    1. Thanks for stopping by, Diane.

      The “yes” did feel good, especially since this was one of my earlier attempts, and my first sale to one of the bigger markets.

      Good luck to you, too. Hope things are going well~


  3. Ha. I spent the whole piece thinking, “Was it published? Was it published? For the love of God was it published?”

    So glad to hear you found success!

    (When you do receive your Pulitzer, we’ll all say we knew you when…)

    Good luck on Week 2!


  4. that’s a great post!
    keep up the momentum on NaNoWriMo!
    You are the awesomeness!

    (or, as my son says, “You are the awesome sauce!”)


  5. Very true to life. We all are like this. It makes me laugh at myself. Sometimes I’ll read something I write and think it’s great; the next day I think I should trash it and start over. Hm. Blessings to you…


  6. This was great! I’ve done several email submissions, so I’m almost as obsessive with email. So help me if my internet service gets interrupted….

    Glad to see your reply to one of the comments above that it eventually was a “yes.” I love happy endings 🙂


  7. I love your hour by hour outline of what you went through! We’re able to feel a bit of what you must have felt. Oh, how exciting. I do hope you do get published….!!!!!

    I’ll follow you on twtter 😀


    1. Thanks, June, but I guess I really should have put a disclaimer at the beginning of this post. This was (mostly) fiction — a little joke on the neuroses of the “normal” writer. But, I did have a similar experience several years ago. And, yes, it was published. 🙂


  8. Your scenario of hope and anticipation is hilarious. You did a great job evoking the experience of positive feedback from an editor. The celebration dinner and the postcard scratching your cheek both made me laugh out loud.



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