“You become a writer when you write — not when someone decides your writing will be published.”
After weeks of checking my emails religiously every time my phone even thinks it might make a little ‘bing’ sound that alerts me to a new message, I returned home from work today to a brown envelope on the floor of my hallway.
What amuses me about this innocuous envelope is not that it has my own handwriting on the front, but that it is already open. Here it is, the envelope I have been both waiting anxiously for and that I am terrified to read the contents of, and some bastard has already been and done that. I imagine somewhere there is a postman sniggering at the contents, or maybe lamenting that it was my envelope and not his. Should the latter be the case, I can also imagine that my next door neighbour’s mail is somewhat wrung out and spat on in annoyance.
In reality, it is probably the crap adhesive that is to blame for my unsealed packet, and today I loath the offending glue (or lack of it) because it doesn’t give me the satisfaction of tearing it open and ripping out the insides like a lion attempting to devour a gazelle.
Only, were I in the Serengeti, I would be the lion that hovers at the back going… oh, oh no I’m not sure. Should I go in? Should I… No, no I’ll just stay here and look at the gazelle. Thanks. For instead of ‘not’ tearing open the envelope, I stared at it for a few minutes before going upstairs to change my shoes, turning on my laptop, and even considered getting a rather large drink. (My shoes are changed, my laptop is clearly on, but I didn’t get drink, for those wondering.)
However, with the offensive lack of glue envelope just sitting there, I finally gathered the nerve and opened it, or at least, took out the insides.
Now, take into account that this submission was always a long shot. I knew that the agent in question didn’t cater specifically to my genre. However, they had asked to see it, so I thought ‘why not’.
I now wish I’d gotten the drink.
As I said, I knew that this particular submission was a long shot. In fact, I think snowball in hell would be a more accurate description. Unlike the other agents I selected through hours of research, this was one I knew focused on literary fiction. It was only through a prior meeting that I sent this work to her.
Thick skin. They all tell you that you need thick skin to be able to do this. Rejections will, undoubtedly, be more common than acceptance when it comes to publishing. Though still, with this apparent thick skin, and my snowball, it still feel like someone told me that my baby is ugly.
One section of a sentence in particular is both terrifying and amusing me. Before this in the sentence, there are some compliments to my writing, characters, etc.
“I can’t quite see how it might be published.”
Obviously, now, I am sitting here wondering how to take this. Do I take it like an oven or a time machine?
An oven, I know works, clearly. I know the general principles, but ask me to create or fix one and we’re not getting anywhere. On the other hand, nobody can make a time machine (that we know of,) so it is not just my own lack of knowledge in electrics and gas that stop me from fixing one.
I can either take this sentence as talking about an oven or a time machine. Not knowing how it might be published might simply be saying “I’m not an electrician, I’m a plumber. Call me when you have a leaking shower.” However, it could also be saying “What you have here is a load of wires that does not travel through time.”
It doesn’t matter which one I choose, right now, I still have no time machine or oven.
Going from the quote at the top, I know that this doesn’t stop me. I know that rejections will probably flow thick and fast and all I need is that one person to say yes. I know that.
Doesn’t stop me from wishing I’d not opened the envelope just yet.