Everyone seems to have a phobia. I wasn’t aware of mine until recently. My phobia, I discovered, is submission patience. I can’t sit still after I send a piece of poetry or prose to someone, whether it be for a contest, assignment, feedback, or even for the simple pleasure of having it read. The moment I click to send, I need to see something in my inbox within minutes in order to keep me from going crazy. Naturally, I very rarely hear anything for hours, if not days. I’ve been sitting on a poem for over a week now for my college’s micro-journal. I should have known by now if my poem was going to appear, but this week was a special edition. I’ll know Monday. It drives me mad to wait.
It’s funny, because I’m normally a patient person. I sat through fifteen years of education before deciding I love school. I waited on a friend at the coffee shop for an extra hour on Tuesday before she showed up. I didn’t mind, because I knew she’d show eventually. Likewise with school, I knew my time of enjoyment would come. But with submitting my work, I will never be able to say I have it in the bag until I officially have it in the bag. I could write something brilliant and have it denied. I could write a mediocre piece and have it praised. In the world of writing, you just never know what you’re going to get as a result of the work you put forth.
The other part of my phobia is the fear that my hard work will get me nowhere, that my work will be turned down, and that I will ultimately fail at this writing aspiration of mine. Is it a reasonable phobia? I think so. Again, I’m entering a field that cannot be predicted. I could be discovered one day at random by someone who thinks I’m on to something with a short story or novel that I’ve written. I could publish. I could write my little heart out and get nowhere. You just don’t know.
I’ve heard people say that English majors have it easy because we don’t have to memorize thousands of words or parts to something and we don’t have to take test after test to prove that we understand something trivial. But what “the other guys” fail to realize is that once they get their degree, they’re ready. They can apply to a business and get in as long as they followed the rules. A writer doesn’t have that option. I can’t say that I got A’s in all of my creative writing classes and that I published a poem or short story to the school. That doesn’t impress a publisher to give me a career in novel-writing. It simply doesn’t work that way. I go to school (by choice), and then I have to go do the hard work.
I’m not complaining here, so please don’t misunderstand me. I love what I do. It’s my passion, my pride and joy, and I would never wish to be a test taker or master memorizer. As much as it’s a phobia, I love never knowing where my life will go until I get there. It’s an excitement comparable to traveling. You don’t know what you’ll find or who you’ll meet, but when you get to that point where everything is clear and you learn something, that’s when it’s worth it.
I have to quit here for today. I am due at the movies soon to see “The Town” with friend Meredith from book club. I am quite excited for this movie and have been waiting months for it to come out. I will write a review either tonight or tomorrow of it. I hope everyone has a great Thursday!
What is your phobia?