I included among my summer goals the final pre-submission revisions to an essay I’ve discussed here several times, and today was the day: I attached files to an email and hit “send,” and I sealed and mailed the envelope with the hard copy. But not before I dithered over those two items for an hour or so, not totally convinced I was ready to submit the work for review.
Finally doing that was perhaps the hardest part of the summer work on that project. I had earlier tweaked a few minor things that had come to bother me; changed the title to “History, Memory, and the Indian Struggle for Autonomy in the 17th-century Hudson Valley;” received some helpful input from my colleague Will Mackintosh on how to strengthen the description of my intervention in the literature, and to foreground the suggestion that Hudson Valley Indians were trying to “educate” English newcomers in cultural traditions in the 1660s; and revised a few of my discussions in light of my reading of Andrew Newman’s On Records: Delaware Indians, Colonists, and the Media of History and Memory. Then came time to prepare the manuscript–in other words, to get all the formatting in order for the journal to review the piece. There was style (2nd instead of 2d, Mass. instead of MA, etc.); there were notes (converting footnotes to endnotes and double-checking information); there were images (I found two great maps, one of the Noort Rivier in Niew Neerlandt from 1639, the other of Novi Belgii from 1670).
No problems that far. But actually determining that I was okay with sending it, with not having it waiting to be further revised tomorrow when it occurs to me that I should have done X, Y, or Z–that was difficult. There’s an old saying about works never being finished, only abandoned; it’s a good reminder to people like me, who know that whatever they’re working on can get better, and will if they keep working, but who also can use the reminder that moving towards publication (important for me here) involves additional steps beyond whatever they (I) can do unaided. And a reminder of why it’s nice to have deadlines on some projects.