When I have to get up early for an important event, I need a good night's sleep so I won't be a zombie in the morning. (I have all the symptoms: grunting, lurching around, feeding off of the nearest warm object.) But no matter how early I go to bed the night before, I never get enough sleep. I wake up over and over again to stare at my alarm clock, thinking: "I have three hours left to sleep...I have two hours left to sleep...I have one hour left to sleep..." And when I finally nod off, I dream that I'm still awake and can't fall asleep.
Nothing is less restful than dreaming for hours that you're an insomniac.
I had one of those nights this past Thursday, when I woke up at the crack of dawn to drive down to the Florida Christian Writer's Conference.
The conference was held on Lake Yale. (Obviously, this is not a view of the lake.) My father and I only got lost twice trying to navigate through the back woods of Florida, which is pretty good for us.
It's an interesting experience trying to coherently pitch a book to agents and editors on four hours of sleep. I had several appointments in a row, and between each appointment I found a quiet corner where I could shut my eyes and let my brain fizzle.
But the conference was worth the lack of sleep. I made good connections with several agents. Most of them wanted me to submit my book proposal to them-- after I trimmed the manuscript. My WWII book is currently 181,000 words long. Most publishers don't want anything over 100,00o words.
(I like reading massive books like Les Misérables, Gone With the Wind, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoneix, etc. So I wrote a massive book.)
Fortunately, the WWII brick is already divided into two parts, which are more or less two complete books. Nevertheless, I'm eying my manuscript with a giant pair of pruning shears, wondering if I should start chopping or go ahead and submit book one as it is.
AGENTS. SUBMISSIONS. FUN.
(And I still believe the Order of the Phoenix should have been longer.)