Subject line from “Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)” by Florence + the Machine
I have kept a journal of some sort for more than twenty years. (I have the heavy boxes to prove it.) Sometime in early high school, I caught the internet bug and started a webpage. (Complete with flashy background and weird icons.) During college, that evolved into a Livejournal, and now, I have a Dreamwidth account and a Blog (TM) here at WordPress. In college, I also wrote and submitted pieces – usually anonymously – to our campus literary magazine. All this time, though, I’ve been saying I didn’t want to publish.That wasn’t my thing. Want the honest truth?
I’ve been scared. Under the bed crouching waiting for the monsters scared.
I’ve worked at an academic journal in editing. It demystified some of the process for me, but I’m still sitting on my thesis from seven years ago. (Even though I’ve been told more than once it would be great for publication.) I think there is/was still some residual anxiety from that whole process. So, publishing hasn’t been something that I’ve let on my radar. Rather, I keep saying that, for the most part, I write for myself.
Take all that background and tuck it away for a moment. Remember a bit ago, I told you all I was changing my focus and where my energy goes? And that one of the things I was focusing on is a short story that I’m submitting for consideration for an anthology. A friend of mine as been working on submitting stories more regularly, and I for whom I have been betareading has been a huge supporter of me continuing to work on things. Whether she knows it or not, she’s been a little voice whispering, “You can do this.” But, never with pressure.
With less than a month before the story was due, I started writing. With the intention of submission. What?
I know, right? I thought the same thing. And it’s been such a roller coaster of brain weasels telling me I can’t get it done, to the exhilaration of seeing it start to come together, to anxiety on receiving the first round of comments, to the utter enjoyment of making the revisions, to the nail biting that came with sending it out to my betas, and the feeling of WHEE as I head into the home stretch just before actually submitting the darn thing.
Thank goodness I have been practicing meditation some. It helps me to regain balance, to find my seat, to come back to the single most important thing I’m learning about writing. I need to sit down and do it. Because, if I don’t sit down and do it, it doesn’t get done. And while I don’t think I will write solely for publication, there has been something very rewarding about this process that I couldn’t have imagined before. Acceptance or rejection – I’ve learned a lot.