A few weeks ago I sent in a story for potential publication. I’ve never done this before, and it’s somewhat terrifying. It’s not something big, mind you, this publication. It’s a local anthology that’s looking for writers. I was recommended by a friend.
I chose a story that I thought would be relevant, though it is something that I wrote in high school. I of course made copious revision efforts before sending it in.
My friend emailed me the other day, saying that he had read it. “I’d rather talk to you about it face to face.” Knowing that I wouldn’t see him until Thursday (today), this was something painful. It’s like your teacher writing on your paper that you get back at the end of class on Friday to see them on Monday to discuss your grade. You have all those days to obsess and worry about it, create horrible scenarios of what’s going to be said. I wrote back and told him how mean he was for letting me know that so long before I’d see him–nicely, of course.
I have seen him at work, I haven’t talked to him about it. In fact, he’s sitting at the table next to me as I write this, and I still don’t have it in me to ask him about it (he seems very busy).
I also got the response from his friend, stating that my story isn’t ready to publish, that there are some suggestions, and that I should join a critique group for writers.
All my fears gathered up and dished out at me. I’ve spent the last few days since my friend talked to me considering how I’m going to handle this. I went through alterations of telling myself to toughen up, of course this is going to happen because I haven’t given myself the chance to shape my fiction. I’ve been too afraid–of exactly this–to show anyone my work. My essays I have absolute confidence in because I’ve had reviews. Not my fiction, which is where my passion truly is. The other intense feeling is the overwhelming feeling of doubt: that I should give up being a writer, and that all my personal projects that I’m trying to get going is just a silly fancy; that I should just give the Freaking Ugly Cat Kickers up–with writing, school and everything. I’m just fooling myself.
I haven’t read the suggestions for my story yet. I’ve been trying to muster the bravery, trying to remember the last line of the email:
“You’re a good writer, and I don’t want to discourage you from writing or from submitting. I recommend joining a critique group to help you develop your kills.”
So I sit here, trying to get up the courage to read the damn suggestions, revise my story, and resubmit within five days. Yep. Still battling the above.