Today, I sent off a submission. There is always a magical moment when you send a submission. You’ve completed a project. You’ve had it read. You’ve re-edited and re-written. You’ve gone over it yet again. Let other people see it. Then, you’ve let it sit. You’ve mulled it over. Finally, you’ve read it out loud to really hear it. You’ve edited it again, attached it to an email, and sent it out into that big, wide world.
For the first few moments, it’s possible to believe. Like a fairytale, destined to a happy ending, you imagine the pleasant reception your writing will receive. It will be loved. It will be applauded. It will be read from here to Australia (but not by anyone you know, because that would be embarrassing – after all, you are an introvert). Such grand dreams for that little submission.
Reality comes hard on the heels of a submission. People always number their rejections, but I don’t keep track. Too many. Too many. When I get a rejection, I archive it immediately, almost before I can read it, and then I think about something, anything else. I don’t keep those kind of numbers to deliberate on late at night – when Spencer’s woken me up to have his blankets re-adjusted. I’d rather not know how many times it didn’t turn out.
There’s a scene in the PBS Anne of Avonlea when Marilla chides Anne for letting her dreams fly too high. She’s exasperated at the depression that Anne feels at her failure, and she insists it wouldn’t be so bad if Anne didn’t expect so much. Anne replies that the flying is such a wonderful experience that she believes it’s worth the thud.
And it is worth the thud. That magical moment when you’ve finished. When you love what you’ve written, and you’re sure everyone else will love it too. It’s worth the thud. Every time.