All I want is a cheeseburger.

I had to have dental surgery. That meant stitches. That meant no chewing. No real food.

For over a week now, I’ve had only soft food. I was excited when the dentist said I could have ice cream and Jamba Juice. Who wouldn’t want to eat ice cream for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? That lasted two days. Yogurt? One day. Mashed potatoes. One day. All around me I kept smelling food. I dreamed about platters and platters of ribs and steak and coconut cake. Now I know how Oliver felt watching all that food go to the rich people in the back room while he had to eat gruel (watch the movie). I wanted real food.

But I’m a writer, be specific. I wanted a greasy, half-pound cheeseburger, on a bun baked by a ninety-year-old grandmother in her family run business.  I wanted my cheeseburger to have a thick slab of melted cheddar cheese from a two hundred year old dairy farm in Wisconsin. And I wanted steak fries. A whole plate of steak fries. With potatoes from…you fill in the blank.

What does this have to do with writing?

When you query and submit your manuscript to an agent before it’s ready all you’ve done is give them mashed potatoes or ice cream. They get served mashed potatoes and ice cream all day. They don’t want it, and so they reject your manuscript.

Take the time to build that oozy, gooey, cheeseburger. The kind that drips juice down your chin and onto your denim capris when you bite into it.

No one wants to keep eating ice cream forever.

And you!

Why are you still making yourself eat ice cream? Take the time to dive deep into your work. That doesn’t mean write writhing on the floor in anguish. Be true. Have fun. Build cheeseburgers.

Desiree Middleton is a 2013 MFAC graduate, screenwriter, and novelist. Her writing centers around the struggles that result from imperfect people as told through sci-fi, fantasy, and horror; with a sprinkling of humor.