My plan/goal/resolution for 2013 was to write and submit. I’m writing. Submitting, not so much. Ok, not at all. I think my idea was to have at least one submission out each month. No, I’m not going to look back and check, just in case I was even more delusional than one a month. At first I thought, “I have plenty of time, January has 31 days!”
Then I didn’t think about it at all. In the last week, I remembered. Well, no problem. Yanno, in that writing is easy kind of way. I’ll make up for lost time, and send out five submissions this month. The strangest thing happened, though. The more I began researching where I should send my stories, the more I had other, fabulous ideas that needed to be written down right now. And the more I thought of revisions that had to be made, on stories I haven’t looked at in forever, right now. And of course, the more I needed to check in on Facebook, right now. Hard to believe I’ve yet to decide what to submit where.
Submit. Submission. Submissive. Submerge. Not loving these words.
I know all about submission, I read Anne Rice’s Sleeping Beauty series. I even read the Story of O–and what a surprise that was, found by my 15 year old self in the poetry section of a used book store. But what else would I call it? An offering? I don’t know about you, but that still brings the sacrificial lamb to my mind.
But still, I’m going to do it. Why? Because I write, and that’s what people who write, do. We write, revise, delete, bang our heads into the wall, write some more, edit some more, and then submit. It’s funny, the stages you go through as a writer. Not everyone goes through the same ones, or in the same order, but I’ve spoken with a lot of writers in my forty thousand years. Female, male, self taught, MFAs, published or unpublished, the variations of this theme are all sewn with the same thread. As a child you write, and show your work to everyone. Then you begin to hoard it. No one understands me. Absolutely true, no one understands what you don’t share. Then you begin to share again, with those you think will understand your golden thoughts. And then someone doesn’t, or points out the flaws, and it’s crushing. (This stage may now be extinct, the current and more recent generations have the internet, allowing them to learn everyone has to go through this, and someone taking time to point out flaws and errors is a good thing). Then you write again and dream about being a writ-ah. Or a huge commercial success. And you write more and truly begin to learn about editing, revising, rewriting, sharing your work, being critiqued, and the publishing business. And you begin to submit. Some of us stall out and go through these stages several times.
Writing, pursuing publication, it’s a weird thing. You have to have complete and total faith in yourself and your work, but at the same time you have to be open to critique, open to learning more, improving craft, understand that rejection of that work is part of the process. Pride but not hubris.
Will I get five submissions out by the end of this month? Maybe. But I will send my work out. It will be on submission, not me.
Though there may have to be some floggings.