Lessons of Submission: The Martial Arts of Hitting ‘Send’

At summer camp ages ago, I learned Judo, the “martial arts of falling,” as my instructor put it. To oversimplify, in Judo one learns to take people down – so, naturally, one must also learn to hit the ground, because everybody has to lose if they are going to learn.

As a preteen, I was astounded to learn that by hitting the ground with your hand – before your body followed – helped to arrest your momentum and control your collision in a way that kept you from experiencing pain. Falling had always been one of those infallible things to me – unstoppable once instigated, its resolution was one of scrapes and bruises. But all things, it seems, have their art.

Submitting to agents this past week was like learning Judo. I compiled each query painstakingly, tailoring them to the agents I was most excited to work with, throwing in different numbers of pages, and even writing up a bio and synopsis (who knew so many agents wanted synopses? One agent declared that they were evil, to which I agree wholeheartedly). The compilation of each query was the fall before impact, the prelude to failure – because we all know rejections are a thing.

But then, after triple-checking my subject line, the agent’s email, the spacing between my synopsis and bio – all the thoughts raging through my head, “Will this even work? Is this even worth it?” – I hit “Send” as if hitting the ground, and suddenly there is no impact. I have completed the task, and, unharmed, I move onward to the next agent in line.

I’ll just have to have my clicking hand ready for “Archive” once the rejections come rolling in 🙂

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