I was out with a friend the other night and she asked me why I don’t have a literary agent yet. I was a little surprised at the questions for a few reasons. 1) I don’t think that I am anywhere ready for a literary agent to see something because I haven’t even finished the first draft. 2) I have to figure out who the right literary agent would be. 3) I have a hard time considering sending out some of my short stories to contests or magazines, how can I possibly be ready to send the “baby” that is my novel out into the world?
Writer’s Digest twittered about one of their short story contests this past week. My brother constantly sends me contests and children’s lit specific entries and other things that I know as a budding writer I should be doing. My brother has been doing this for quite some time and has a number of publishing credits to his name because of it. “But what about rejection?” I ask him. He says ” that for every acceptance he receives five rejections. It becomes just part of it.” I recall him posting his rejection letters on the wall for a while. A wall of shame I guess. But, he kept going.
At first my instinct is to submit my little short story – the one that I have been told by an author is actually ready for submission. But, then, I think that it might be rejected and then I will be sad and feel like an untalented fool among the many would-be writers out there in the world.
But, my friend made me think that it might not be such a bad thing to start thinking about crossing that line a little more. What is interesting, is that although I am petrified at sending my first twenty pages of the novel, a personal and a critical essay to Vermont, I am going ahead with it. Maybe it is because it is a school submission. I have done that before. I already crossed that threshold when I applied to Banff.
But, I think that magazine and contests are a whole other world of writing madness. A world that I am slowly beginning to fell comfortable about jumping into.