With the first two submissions of 2016 out of the way it’s time I turned toward other activities, but I’m immobile once again, so join me as I seek some action more meaningful than self-congratulation and back pattery.
In trying to make up for lost time I’ve pulled my interior abductor muscles. Both sides. At least I’m laterally symmetrical. Not quite bed-ridden but not exactly spry, I’ve spent my day looking for journals, mending pieces, and pestering the cats. I’m still not finding a great number of journals with specific deadlines. I’ve found quite a few with rolling acceptance periods, but that sort of thing makes me unnaturally nervous. I worry that I’ll be accepted only after I’ve allowed a piece to go to someplace who’ll pay less or that has a smaller readership. To be published in any capacity should be my goal, I know, but the petty worries ally themselves with inactivity and that’s got a heavy draw.
Still no word on my accepted piece. I’ll give it a few more days, which’ll feel like many more, and then I’ll send a polite note to the editor humbly inquiring as to whether my materials are all in order.
Submitting has almost entirely lost its sting. I wish I’d started sooner. I’ve gotten down a system that allows for me to manage the sending, accepting (that it was or wasn’t published), and re-sending of all my finished pieces. It wasn’t particularly hard, nor was it something I’d learned in college. I could have been doing this for fourteen years, ever since I finished my first short story.
Had I started sooner, I’d be reaping the rewards now. One sees a pattern growing as he seraches through submission opportunities, that of favoring the venerable. By and large, unless you know someone (and then you’re trading of his or her venerability) it seems the best way to be published is to have been published. Some of the most exciting opportunities I found this week were open only to those who’ve published books in previous years, or x number of short stories in y number of publications. I understand it, a publisher or a college doesn’t want to spend huge sums of money on an unproven writer. They want some proof of quality. I begrudge not them, but my own late start. I’ve still got time, I know, but it’s hard not to wonder at how much further along my career might be if I hadn’t been so willing to bend under the pressure of social anxiety toward the all too comfortable sinkhole of inaction.
On second thought, perhaps two submissions isn’t where I’ll stop today. Sudden periods of Herculean activity after too long spent sedately never hurt anyone, says the man who can’t stand without a stoop.
Well, never hurt anyone doing so in the literary venue.