Last night I went to bed the same old me I’ve been for approximately twenty-eight years. Or at least the same old me I’ve been for the last ten. I mean, I’ve changed in that time, but I’m always me. The difference last night, was that I knew when I awoke, things would change.
And change they did. I awoke and I was a published fiction writer. Oh, I’ve been published. You can check some of my credits out on the main site. I’ve done “professional blogging” and I have an essay out there in this great big world–but my heart, my love, my fiction–usually just sat around.
So the question is, does it feel any different? And the reality is…it doesn’t quite. I still woke up feeling like I would die without coffee, I still had all the same tattoos and no new ones, I still needed my glasses to see properly. What’s different, I guess, is much like a wild animal, once I’ve tasted blood I must have more.
Since I received the email saying my story would be published (you can read it here on page 18) I’ve been thinking about how long it took. I realized something important. It didn’t take long at all. See, it feels like it took a lifetime. I’ve been writing ALL MY LIFE. But submitting? I’ve been submitting fiction for the last few months. I wonder if I am lucky. I just had the right story at the right place at the right time, or if the reality is, if you are aggressive, you’ll find success.
Once I started submitting, I dipped a toe in. I submitted one story to about three different places. Then I talked to writers I admire and found out that they often have over 30 pending submissions. So I took three stories I really loved, and went to work on Duotrope, researching to find the best places to send them. I papered the digital world with these stories. I got a lot of rejection letters. I mean, stacks. But it only took a few months. Not years. I guess I can thank the internet for making it that easy to send out forty-something submissions in a few days.
I guess what I am saying is, while it is hard to get three or four rejections in the same day, it’s better than taking a year and a half to see any fruit from your labors. And I’m saying, if you’re a writer, get a Duotrope account (it is free). And that’s really my only advice because I still don’t feel like I have any idea what I am doing. I’m holding hands with writers and authors that are always willing to help, workshop, and give advice–and tell me, “suck it up, Buttercup” when I am worried about submitting. So maybe that’s my advice–find some cool people who know what they’re doing and ask a lot of questions. Having a partner that “gets it” is important, too.
And this all feels really silly. Me giving advice. But I’m stoked, and I wanted to share my excitement in a way that wasn’t just “LOOKITME LOOKITME!”
But seriously: LOOKITME!