I try to regularly tackle things that scare me. It’s not only the best way to make them less scary, but it also seems to be the only way forward when it comes to bettering myself as an artist and writer. (I’m tired of working in silence and isolation, waiting to be “discovered” by what I must have assumed was a door-to-door talent search conducted by literary agents). To be fair, since I became a mom, I’ve found I’m less afraid of professional setbacks/failures, but that doesn’t mean the anxiety has gone away altogether. So today was a scary day, because today I submitted my first short story to a fantasy anthology.
I’ve been reading these books since I was a kid, and when an idea for a short story came to me after watching a documentary on Viking swords, I knew exactly what I had to do with it.
And I know—rationally—that I’m probably going to get yet another rejection letter. That’s the way of things, and it’s pretty familiar territory at this point. In fact, I prefer outright rejections to the bitterness of no response at all: as if your effort was so abysmally sad that you aren’t even entitled to some merciful closure. Regardless, I will continue to learn, and study, and practice, and hopefully improve.
What is starting to really worry me, however, is that I have this sneaking suspicion that I’m almost there...that I’ve almost reached that necessary level of professional skill, and that one of these days it won’t be a rejection after all.
And then… I don’t know what I’ll do with myself. Rejection is comfortable and familiar—but success? That’s a whole other story.