April 2 – Round 2 of the contest deadlined last night. Getting by with a little — make that a lot — of help from some of the usual cadre of beta (gamma, delta…) readers, my story was as polished as it was going to get and it was submitted with time to spare. Once again, their collective insight and feedback worked wonders, making the story much stronger than it would’ve been had I gone it alone.
Fingers are particularly crossed… can fingers be degrees of crossed?… because while this was the second year in a row that I had made it to Round 2, it was the first year that I submitted a story for that level of the contest. Last year at this time I had written the first draft of a story for Round 2 locally on my laptop, but my then six-year-old was sick enough on deadline night that we had to head to the emergency ward of Sick Kids Hospital. Part of her initial diagnosis required our ensuring she could keep water down, a slow, hours-long process as we sat into the late night with her. I watched the time tick down to midnight, unable to submit even the existing first draft as an offering to the contest because it wasn’t in the cloud, it was only saved on the laptop. Lesson learned. While I’m not a big fan of using the cloud for various reasons, it undeniably has its uses. Accessing a story remotely to submit it to a contest you’ve proven yourself in, and hope to continue to advance in, is one of those.