Hitting that Submit Button

Hitting that Submit Button

Posting has been light lately, but it’s because I’ve been busy with my latest manuscript. For me, getting that first draft down is tough. However, I love revising. (Weird, huh?) I really think I could revise a piece forever, continuously getting charged up from finding boo-boos here and tightening up my prose there.

My wife, who is also a strict critic and proofreader, recently suggested the real reason might be more than the pleasure of “getting the words right,” as Hemingway described the process of revision — it might also be fear of taking that frightening leap of submitting my work.

Yikes! She’s probably on to something. I’ll admit it IS scary to hit that submit button. For me, it’s at least as terrifying as that first backward jump in rappelling, or seeing the earth vanish from under your feet when you launch yourself hang gliding. And I’ll also admit to still being touchy about rejection even though intellectually, I know that’s part of the game. Hey, it hurts to offer your heart and have it pushed aside. But again, that’s the nature of the beast.

Here’s a no-nonsense reminder of that cardinal rule of the writer’s life, from alto at Matters of the Art:

You will be rejected. Often. Get over it early, because it never really goes away. Though realize you are not alone. In the course of my MFA, while researching for an assignment, I stumbled upon an article about author rejections. The New Yorker, The Paris Review, The Atlantic, Fiddlehead, and every other high end lit rag has rejected every single famous writer out there countless times. It doesn’t matter who you are. Raymond Carver, Joyce Carol Oates, Alice Walker, all know the sting of rejection.

If misery loves company, I guess knowing you have some high-caliber company eases the hurt just a bit.

BTW, I heartily recommend alto’s article. It’s sound advice I wish I’d read decades ago, not just on dealing with rejection, but on other vital truths about writing.

Anyway, I finally let go and hit that “Submit” button. My latest wip is out there, swimming upstream in a digital slush pile.

28 thoughts on “Hitting that Submit Button”

  1. Perfect timing! I just began submitting my first completed wip to agents last week. And even though I’ve had my skin thickened by years of making my living as an actor, where the rejections are in-person (but at least immediate), it’s still a scary deal. Here’s to us brave hearts 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jan M. Flynn,

      I’d say acting is not only effective at toughening the hide, but also good training in creating believable characters and projecting emotions. Look at Yukio Mishima, Robert Shaw, and Tom Hanks — all talented writers and actors.

      BTW, my wife and I met in a play. That acting bug is hard to shake!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Break a keyboard! I got drafted in college to “participate” in a play. I was actually there to butcher wood and make stuff that the real actors could stand on without crashing to the stage and really break a leg. Somehow I found myself on stage (n0 lines). But it was worth it. The cred it gave me with the girls from that side of the campus made my senior year whiz by filled with very fond memories. Didn’t find my Child Bide until a few years later but there was a bit of “acting” required to seal the deal. Oh, I sent off my latest WIP and just found out I have been fortunate to receive my sixth contract. It will be almost a year before the latest novel hits Amazon so I have to get busy on that research file for number seven.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Rejection gets easier with time, and it’s a given that everyone has different tastes. One man’s masterpiece is another’s mess and the other way around. There’s a time when you are no longer improving your work, just making it different. That’s the time to submit 🙂 Good luck to you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. D. Wallace Peach,

      You’re right, of course — but the trick is knowing when you’ve reached that point. It’s a matter of working at the craft until you get a better sense of who you are as a writer and what you want to create.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes, and that takes time and experience, I suppose. I’ve gotten to the point now where I have a editing methodology with specific steps and thresholds. When I’ve completed all the steps, I know it’s time to say goodbye and start on something new. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  4. So is “I love revising” a euphemism for “I fear finishing”? 😊 That’s the typical neurosis of a perfectionist. Maybe you’re a perfectionist. You fear finishing because it might not be perfect. Analysis over. Good luck upstream. 😊


    1. Daedalus Lex,

      I will confess to usually being unable to let go and let the words spill onto the page — instead, I agonize over every sentence. Yeah, that’s perfectionism, a fear of failure.

      Once in a while, though, the narrative does pour out. Man, that feels good!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. A rejection is simply the manifestation of an editor’s grave error. The writer cannot be held responsible for these shortcomings.
    To paraphrase Edison “I’ve not failed as a writer. I’ve just found 50 editors with poor perception”
    (Writers should always have a smidge of arrogance to help them through the lean times)

    Liked by 2 people

  6. First of all let me say good luck with your manuscript. I have learned a lot and have taken a lot of good advice on writing to mind. Still whenever I write up something to post online I reread, I fret, I add a lot of personal remarks to make the piece completely my own, I check for originality and so on. Finally when I am ready to press that publish button my hand shakes a bit and finally I am done. When I receive positive comments on my work only then do I completely relax. And about that submit button I have long put off self-publishing an ebook of poems which is my dream because it seems a daunting task doing it all on my own. Hopefully I will take that big step by the summertime.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Rasma R,

      It is scary! But finishing your manuscript is something to be proud of in and of itself. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard people say they were “working on” a novel, short story, play, or whatever, and had been working on it for years. So those of us who’ve mustered up the discipline to complete our dream, and then have the audacity to submit our work, have nothing to regret.


      1. Your reply has given me a rush of confidence. I will do all that I can and get my book of poems finally published so I too will have nothing to regret, my dream will have come true and perhaps there will be some surprises for me when people respond to what I have offered them. The thought of that alone is something to smile about.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Rasma R,

    Good for you. And, yes, readers’ reactions are often surprising. It’s great when you touch someone, but we have to remember that we write because we love it. Sure, you risk rejection, just as artists and athletes risk failure. It’s a learning experience, but it’s more than that. To quote the failed author Cervantes, from Man of La Mancha:

    And I know
    If I’ll only be true
    To this glorious quest
    That my heart
    Will lie peaceful and calm
    When I’m laid to my rest

    What greater reward can you ask for?


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