It hurts to be told you are lacking. But such is life. Even among the naturally gifted, no skill can be refined without putting in the time so, naturally, failure will almost certainly precede success. For certain people, people like myself, an aversion to rejection can severely stunt growth. After all, if you never expose yourself or your work to open criticism (outside of friends and family), how can you recognize your shortcomings? How can ever improve or grow?
For this writer, that is certainly one ingredient in my stagnation as a writer. Apart from chronic writer’s block, mental fatigue, and the inability to write without self-flagellation, an absolute dread over the idea of being told that I don’t measure up as a writer, that I never had any business writing in the first place, has kept me from pursuing any sort of exposure beyond the pages of this blog. However, that could soon change.
I have written something, a short story, that I think might actually be worth submitting to publications. But even now, I am dragging my feet on completing final edits. The prospect of “finishing” this story fills me with no shortage of trepidation. Because once it’s finished, there’s no more excuses. Either I put myself out there or I, essentially, give up on being a writer.
Harsh words, but true. I cannot continue to simply say: “Well, this isn’t good enough to publish, maybe the next story.” If I continue down that path, it will never end, it will circle around and around aimless until eventually, it peters out into nothingness. So I find myself at a breaking point. Do I truly wish to be a writer or will I spend the rest of my days as a hobbyist. Nothing necessarily wrong with that but… I’ve always dreamt of more for myself.
The true struggle will be searching for suitable places to submit, calls for submissions for which my story is a fit. I’m not really worried about receiving payment or not, that’s not a priority for a writer trying to get their feet wet. Actually, the truest struggle will be sending that story out into the void, waiting for whatever agonizingly long time it takes to receive a response, and then receiving that inevitable rejection.
Yes. The inevitable rejection. It is coming. I must steel myself against it. Maybe it will be because my story doesn’t measure up. Maybe it will be because the story isn’t a good fit for the publication. Maybe I missed one or more of the qualifications. Whatever the reason may be, the crucial step will be to go against my instincts at that point. My instincts will be to scrap the story once its been rejected, to delete it or store it away in some obscure file, never to be seen again. I have to deny these instincts because the key to getting published will to be submitting again and again, to be rejected again and again.
This won’t be easy.