I haven’t been sending my work out very much lately. For a writer, this is kind of a slow death plan. Lack-of-submission attrition.
Submitting stories is an act of faith. I have faith that this story is the best it can be. I have faith that the publisher/editor/market will read my work with an open heart. I have faith that if it gets rejected, that act of rejection will not break me. Or at least, not for very long.
In January of this year, I sent off 14 pieces. In February, just one. Two in March. Nothing again until just this week.
So, why haven’t I been submitting? Have I lost faith? I don’t think so. I think I’ve found myself writing longer works. Novels, memoirs, long short stories, things that can’t be submitted with the same regularity as shorter pieces. And I’ve lost the time. Submitting, even for someone with a system, takes a lot of time. I’ve been using that time to write articles, proofread books and websites, do marketing copy, essentially make money. I need to make money. More so than in the past, when I had someone sharing the bills with me, when I had health care, when I had a steady main client that covered much of my essential costs. Also, it’s been a spring that’s full of heartbreak. I have a hard time being productive around heartbreak. Who doesn’t? (Okay, I know some people who don’t, who dive into their work to ease their splintering grief, but I am not of that ilk. I am of the ilk who retreats, nurses and aches, goes into her shell. Sponge. Leaf. Stone. Absorb what comes. Synthesize it. Stay steady).
So, although I’ve been writing a fair amount, the idea of sending things out has been overwhelming (time-wise), exhausting (output-wise) and perhaps a little too emotionally raw (rejection-wise). I think I’m rounding that corner, though. Feeling stronger, feeling free-er. I can feel the energy gathering behind me, pushing me forward, urging me to reach up and out. Sending babies out into the world is hard. They cry a lot at the leaving. I cry a little too.
Soon you’ll hear about some rejections. Or some acceptances. Or, at the very least, about some submissions. Some of my children out into the world. Crying their little hearts out, hoping for a home.
Kiss kiss bang bang, s.