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Although it might not always seem so, September foreshadows a time when we start buttoning up sweaters, jackets, or coats in preparation for the end of the year. In our writing, we have to prepare as we come to the end of any project; we need to button it up as well.

This is sometimes the hardest part for writers. They pour so much energy, time, and themselves into their writing that it is hard to give it up, hard to know when it’s done. Then again, sometimes they wish they could have sent it off weeks before.

Either way, it is important that we take some needed steps for a successful sendoff. It’s like sending our children off for the first day of school. We want them to be prepared. Whether you’re sending something off to a publisher, periodical editor, writing contest, management team, or printer, it’s never a good idea to just wing it. Make sure your writing has its shirt buttoned up and is ready to board the publication bus.

Include Contact Information

“Duh!” you say. However, it is the forehead slapping mistakes we make that so often make us look bad. Whatever the writing product is, make sure someone can easily contact you with any questions. Put contact information several places (cover letter, first page of work, sticky note, whatever). We’ve all had things “fall off” of our work at the worst possible time.

Make Sure It’s Clean and Tidy

You wouldn’t (purposely) send your child off to school with rumpled clothes, teeth not brushed, or unwashed face. Don’t send off sloppy writing. Make sure it is formatted properly and has as many mechanical errors fixed as you can manage.

(If you’re sending something off to a publisher like Sunscribe Publishing, make sure you follow their submission guidelines!)

Have Something Else to Do

If we didn’t have work to go to after we send our children off on the school bus, we’d wallow in separation anxiety. Avoid the same problem with writing by having another project on the table or even in the works.  When you’re concentrating on something else, you won’t have time to worry about what’s happening to what you’ve recently sent off into the world.

Taking just a few steps to button up our writing before sending it on its way will help it succeed (and make things less traumatic for the writer).