(A bit of a delay due to not having bookmarked my blog. Now that I see it everyday, I should come up with more regular updates.)
I finally decided to muster up the courage to submit one of my short stories to get published. After looking online at a few literary magazines in the area, I picked Dallas Writers Journal (mainly because the submission fee was free). I picked my best (and favorite) "horror" short story and filled out the info, not expecting much. I don't know much about the magazine, except that they feature "local writers" and the stories are selected by a panel of readers. However, about one to two weeks later I got an email telling me they'd selected my submission.
While I was happy, there was a part of me that was also a bit disgruntled. I began to think - what the hell had I been waiting for before? This paycheck is a mere $10, but I also get my first work published (and maybe even a bit of recognition in the community). I should've been submitting since high school. I definitely should have been submitting during my three years at college. Why had none of my mentors urged me to do so?
I also discovered from this how hard it is to tell people I'm being published. It seems it's always been so much easier for strangers to read my work than friends. It happens that the story I submitted (She's Different) was read by my mom in the earlier drafting stages - but that rarely happens. It made me realize for something that is such a big part of my life, it's surprising how many of my family and friends have never read anything by me. (In fact, my best friend was telling me the last thing she had read were some random chapters of a YA romance I had been drafting in high school.)
If I had to guess, I think it's because I'm much more enamored with my process than with my product. While writing, and rewriting, and editing, and re-editing (etc.) I feel like I'm creating perfection. Then when I get to a point where it's "finished" (for the time being) I'm content. Two weeks, two months, whatever time, later and I am basically embarrassed by the quality.
Is that normal? Is this common with writers? I always begin thinking about published writers here because it makes me nervous for my future. Do authors look at their first novel years down the road and become ashamed that they can't take back these now-permanent words? Will I become that crazy person (knock-on-wood-to-getting-first-novel) who scours book stores with a red pen and my book trying to fix my old mistakes? It makes me lose my mind in a way that's only half kidding.
Eh, maybe I'm getting ahead of myself. Anyways, my first publication is a short story but it's been separated into three issues because of its length. (Which gives me a whole other set of issues to internally fret about - will the story have any coherency with just a third of it over the span of ninety-something days?) It's starting in the October issue of the Dallas Writers Journal, titled She's Different.