One of the effects of going to AWP this year was seeing the sheer number of other literary journals out there and exploring which ones I should read and, that ever-present question, which ones I should send my work. Since then, I’ve been on a submission regimen – one story, to one market, every day since March 5. Well, March 5 – 12, as I dropped off a bit with the impending Spring Break.
Submitting work is never easy – I know this from both sides of the publication process as the one making the call to reject and being the one at the receiving end of said call. Rejections, no matter how nicely they’re worded, don’t make for a pleasant day.
The last time I submitted work was two years go, just before being admitted to NMSU. However, as an MFA student who’s seen her work shift and improve dramatically since then, I’ve now added even more chittering little worries to an already extensive list. Now, in addition to the general worries about self-worth and the direction I’ve chosen in life, I have brand new ones to add to the list:
• What if I place work in a journal that later goes under? Does that look bad, like if my writing was good enough it could have saved it?
• What if I place something and later have a brilliant idea for how to revise it to be a thousand times better?
• What if they see I’m in an MFA program and judge me for not being a better writer?
• What if they see I work at a literary journal and judge me for not being a better writer?
• What if I’m later embarrassed by this piece but, too late, it’s already out there with my name on it where parents, students, employers, whoever can find it?
• What if they see I’ve been published in smaller markets and judge me for not being in bigger ones?
• What if I get picked up first by a smaller market and miss a chance at a larger one? Is it better to be in a small market or a big one?
• What if I get picked up but they want to change the story and I don’t like the changes?
• What if I don’t get picked up at all?
• What if I should have made more revisions?
• What if I should have made fewer revisions?
• What if I place a piece and my professors or colleagues see it, notice I didn’t make the revision they suggested, and they get offended?
• What if I should have made that revision that they suggested?
And on, and on, and on.
So what do you think? Can you answer my questions? Or what worrisome questions should I add to my list?