My stomach is vibrating and my pulse is racing.
I’ve just submitted a story.
It’s not my first submission, but it’s the first one I consider a real submission. Years ago, I took one of the stories I had written and submitted it to a professionally paying online e-zine. The story was fun, and told a pretty tale, but wasn’t anything special. But it had been un-professionally published in a different online e-zine I sent it to a few years before. I was unclear on whether this made it unpublishable at the time. In all honesty, I am still a little muddy on the distinction, as some places will accept that and others will not. Regardless of the legitimacy, my story was rejected. I did not send it elsewhere.
Then, just this past fall, I wrote and submitted a story to an anthology. I puttered around with an opening to the story for a few weeks, with nothing gaining traction. Finally, 25 hours before the deadline, inspiration struck, and over the next day, I wrote and rewrote furiously. I wound up finishing my first draft of that story 1 minute past the deadline, and submitting it a minute after that. I don’t recommend that course of action. While I was very happy with the story at the time, I have since looked it over, and edited and reworked it. It is now much better, and almost unrecognizable from the version I had submitted, and it is still a disjoint, broken story in need of a different ending. It was similarly rejected. I will give it time to breathe, and then I will fix it, and then I will submit it elsewhere.
But neither of those submissions felt right, felt proper. One was pulling out a dusty old thing on a whim, the other was thrown together quite literally last minute and to fit someone else’s vision.
Today, I submitted a real story. This is a story I wrote organically. It came not from a desire to meet someone else’s requirements or specifications. It took exactly the shape it had to take. I wrote it from the heart, and when I wasn’t happy with a part that wasn’t working, I took it out and replaced it. When it was done, I stopped.
Then I edited it. I carved and refined it’s curves and smoothed its joints. Once I was happy with it, this was one of the two stories I sent out to my beta-readers for them to examine. I got back a lot of nice feedback. Constructive criticisms, encouragement, and good vibes. Once I absorbed the feedback, and incorporated what I felt would help the story improve I took this morning to go over it one last time with a fine toothed comb.
I chose my market – the place I wanted to submit it to – and I picked a few back-up places I’ll try next if it is rejected.
The submission process was anticlimactic. I filled out a web form with my vitals and contact info, uploaded the file, and hit the submit button. No trumpets sounded when I hit the button, no confetti fell from the ceiling. The text “Thank you for your submission” showed up on the screen, and that was all. But my internal organs decided to throw a dance party in an elevator.
Now, I have to do 2 things. First, I have to wait to hear, and I have no idea how long that will take, as it varies from market to market. And second, I have to keep writing.
Sending this story out was a milestone on my journey, to be sure. But it wasn’t a destination. I can’t even let it be a way station. It’s just a really pretty and meaningful landmark that I am passing on my way through. Professional Writer, here I come.
Here I Go,