When I was a kid, and I first got contacts, I was absolutely paranoid about losing them. I would take them out and clean them, put them in their cases, and screw the tops on…and then it began. Maybe they weren’t actually in there. I’d open them up and check, screw them back shut. But what if I’d jostled the case while I was checking? What if the contact fell out in the process of putting lids back on?
And so it would go. Sometimes I’d check them five times, with trembling fingers, terrified that I’d lost one. (Lest you think I was completely nuts, money was very tight in our farm household in the 80s, and we knew it. Losing a contact was a big deal.) Eventually, I had to refuse myself permission to check, no matter how much my heart pounded.
When I started submitting work to publishers, the old OC tendency reared its head again. I would prepare a submission. Print it out, sign it, address the envelope, stick it in. Pull it back out, double check it, find something I wanted to change, reprint it, resign it, stick it in. Pull it out, reference the submission guidelines, make sure everything was in the same order that the publisher listed them. Stick it in the envelope again, grit my teeth, seal it.
It was every bit as painful as it sounds. I would say, “Oh, everything’s done, I can get this submission out in twenty minutes.” Three hours later, I’d finaly be ready to go to the post office, and the kids would need a nap.
Email submissions helped. Still, I’ve been known to un-attach and re-attach, just to make sure I sent the right version of the right piece. But over time, it’s gotten easier. Too much so. These days, I’m so irritable about wasted time that when that urge to check, doublecheck and triple check comes over me, I give in once and then skip to the grit-my-teeth-and-hit-send step. The trouble is, the last two or three times, I’ve discovered after the fact that I missed something that would have made the package more professional. Once, I even neglected to attach the file.
Such things never, ever happen to Christian. Because he is a quadruple checker. It occurs to me that maybe I need to stop worrying about being OC about submissions. At least that way I’m not kicking myself for the rest of the night!