As I hovered the mouse over the button, my hands seized up and I was overtaken with the “devil shakes”. Shaking and freezing, I held my breath and closed my eyes and almost vomited on myself as I clicked the mouse. It sailed away, into the wild blue sky. No take backs. I didn’t calm down for a few hours after that. I needed an electric blanket and hot tea to cure the devil shakes. And next month I would do it all over again. Saints preserve me.
This happened a few years ago when I promised myself I would submit my writing once a month to somewhere, a contest, or a magazine, or some other third thing, and by gum I did it. Yes, I did. For two whole months, I did it. So, twice. I submitted two things.
This was not the first time I submitted my writing somewhere, but part of a writer’s job description is submitting, and apparently, I had a hard time with that. Before my once-a-month goal, I had years between each submission.
Judging from my reaction, submitting was terrifying to me. But what was I afraid of? I can only speculate. I could say I was afraid of rejection, but that wasn’t it because the goal was only to hit the submit button. I didn’t really have any expectations beyond that.
I did eventually get two rejection letters from my little goal, one from each submission, and I was quite proud of them. I had never gotten a rejection letter before. They made me feel like I accomplished something. I even thought it might be cool to collect rejections, but I was so freaked out by the submission process that I soon “forgot” about my goal.
This might make me sound like a super pansy writer, and I am, but I have also worked as a journalist and a copywriter several times over. I also published a book (Roxanne in La La Land by L.A. DeVaul for the interested ones) and I currently work for a publishing company. But that is all a different kind of writing. It is writing out of necessity. When I write from my soul it changes things. I become terrified.
It is one thing to write something when someone is waiting for it, and it is another thing entirely to write something meaningful in my free time, then give it to someone who never asked for it and wouldn’t know if I died tomorrow.
At the publishing company, I read through submissions (an ironic job). And I am often struck by the bravery of the people who send in their work. Some people refer to all the other places they submit and how the rejection is getting to them, but I admire their rejections. They are submitters. I am a pansy.
While pansies are beautiful flowers, I would like to be the kind of pansy that grows through sidewalk cracks. Instead, I cave looking at the submit button. I want to be more like those submitters who have collected enough rejections to create a life-sized paper mache home. I am easing my way into the writing world with blogging. I am about to hit the publish button (not as scary as the submit button).