First, I have to say I am the contest chair for Ozark Creative Writers Conference contest. Some weeks I block on writing a blog. That probably shows up in the ones I do write. This week has been H E Double L.
The weekend spent at the hospital with my husband, who was taken from home by ambulance and put in the cardiac section. Turned out to be either a hiatal hernia or gall bladder. We still don’t know.
Then, after sitting three hours waiting to get him out—cause who wants to work on Sunday, even in a hospital?—and him lying there punching his button and moaning “I want to go home.” every three seconds—we finally trailed in about six o’clock. Then he had to be fed because he was starving. That green stuff looked like a cow’s cud and the chicken was nested on something foreign he couldn’t identify and would not put near his mouth.
Waiting patiently on my computer were messages, pleas asking me to make sure a certain contest submission got in the contest. People who wait till the last minute drive me nuts, but I do understand. It’s just that I can’t handle that. I have to be organized,
have all my ducks in a row and be ahead of schedule on everything, so naturally people who don’t drive me nutty. I still love them, don’t get me wrong. Friends and acquaintances, writers and family galore, I love them all. Some just drive me nuts. As I no doubt do them. About now, if my editor could see that sentence, he’d be turning purple.
So here I am, all the entries sorted to where they belong, envelopes to judges addressed, letters written telling them when to return their choices so I can get them in to the lady who writes the checks and fills out the certificates. I’m ready. But I have to wait for those late comers. Please don’t write me how you were sick, or broke your arm or had your appendix out. I already know and I do understand. But, and that’s a big but, there are those who absolutely cannot be ahead of schedule. They just can’t work that way, even without a broken arm.
I am a gentler, kinder contest chair. You leave your name on the pages, if you only have a few pages, I’ll black it out and send it on to the judge. Most chairs return them. If it’s too many pages to mess with, I make a phone call with a chance to fix it if there’s time.
Next time you enter a contest, please consider that contest chair who has to handle each and every submission, make sure the rules have not been broken before she sorts them into the proper files, and eventually number and remove your cover sheet and mails the bundles off to the individual judges. So, read the rules and follow them explicitly. Don’t drive her nuts.
It’s almost over. I can mail them all Friday morning and relax. But wait. The judges have been reminded that I must have the results by September 26. I can start going nuts again because at least one or two will wait till midnight that night to send theirs. Is there no end to my dilemma? I guess not.
My latest book, Beyond the Moon will officially be out Sept. 30, and will anyone do the stuff that needs to be done? No, not until the last minute, effectively hitting my nuts button once again. It’s just the way the world works. I’m the one who is out of step. Everyone else is doing a fabulous job promoting the book, designing posters and cards. The book is gorgeous. It’s available on preorder for ebook at a discount. So what’s my problem?
How do you handle working with people who don’t understand that you need stuff done weeks ahead of time, not at the last minute? Or maybe you are one of them that drives me nuts.