I have a confession to make.
I want to be liked. And if people don’t like me I want them to keep it to themselves.
I suppose most people feel this way to some extent, barring a deeply rooted psychological hate of human interaction which I feel confident is a situation occuring more often in made for television movies than in true life. The grumpiest people you know still have a friend or two – usually other cranky people who share their pet peeves and sense of superiority, but friends nevertheless.
It doesn’t matter how desperately we want to be liked, however, because there isn’t anyone alive capable of gaining universal acceptance. There’s always someone who doesn’t like you or what you stand for or the color of your hair or the way you roll your R’s when you talk. Sometimes it happens for no reason at all. People meet and they just don’t mesh.
This desire of mine to be liked occupied my thoughts this week as I began to search out publication markets that were compatible with my writing style. It is a simple fact that I can’t get published unless I submit my work for consideration.
It is also a fact that I will receive a lot of rejections.
Before you start calling me a silly self-defeatist, or Negative Nancy, or any other cute labels that rely on alliteration, hear me out.
I’m not expecting rejections because I have low self esteem. They happen to every writer, everywhere. Unless I can convince my mom to start publishing her own literary journal, I’m never going to find anyone who thinks everything I write is golden.
That’s a good thing, because I always want to improve my writing. I can’t grow without feedback and quite often it will be couched in terms of rejection. In fact, it might be the best thing that could happen to me. Honest critique is necessary to success.
I know that – in my head. In real life? No way. Living that way, open and available for rejection, is scary. I’ve lived a lot of my life avoiding that kind of pain.
That’s all about to change.
Last week I submitted a piece of flash fiction for consideration to a writer’s journal. I imagine they will receive hundreds of submissions. The odds my story will be chosen for publication? Slim.
That won’t matter. I felt victorious when I pressed the send button on the submission email. I also experienced an overwhelming sense of relief. My steps have been small, but I’m on my way. I’m excited now to focus on the next submission, and the one after that. I might succeed, and I might fail – but I won’t have to live with the regret of never trying.
Or, I could convince my mother to get cracking on that literary magazine. I’m good with it, either way.
Someone has to write all these books that fill up libraries – why not me?