“Patience, he thought. So much of this was patience – waiting, and thinking and doing things right. So much of all this, so much of all living was patience and thinking.” – Gary Paulsen, Hatchet
A few months back, I made my first story submission.
That day, I felt a rush of exhilaration, as thought it was my time, my arrival moment. This is it, I thought. The moment where it will all begin, the story that I will refer to when they ask me how I got my start.
The confidence didn’t last long. A few days later, my mind went the other direction. Why haven’t I heard back yet? The statistical feedback on this particular journal that Duotrope (an excellent resource, writers) provided me was very clear – this publication averaged three months before responding to submitted stories. But even armed with that information, I wanted my answer.
Am I published or not?
I have written sports articles that were published and read by a wide audience, but this was the first (and so far, only) actual story that I had ever submitted. The story details a particular evening that I had while in Afghanistan, sitting in the turret of an MRAP in the middle of the night. For once, I had peeled apart my metal robotic chest, reached inside, and watched my heart bleed all over this story.
Now, after three months, I just want an answer. Good or bad, let me have it. Worrying about this one story is definitely bad practice; I am aware that the proper course of action is to keep grinding away with more stories and submitting them, but this is my first submission.
The writing of stories can be fun. The finishing of stories can be empowering.
Nobody tells you how nerve-wracking the waiting can be.