If Phase One was writing, and Phase Two is submitting to various places, then Phase three would be actually getting accepted. I’m happy (and a little terrified) to say that I’m in Phase three for the first time.
My short story, "Cue the Sax" has been accepted by MuseItUp Publishing, and assuming the world doesn’t end (and no smaller, more personal, disasters happen) between now and the first part of 2012, I’ll have something available in print. Well, E-print.
Yay! / What have I done?
On the one hand, this was the goal all long. On the other, now that it’s happened, all that self doubt that was so easy to repress when I was only doing the writing part now has an outlet.
My story is going to go through an editing phase. This is new to me. I don’t know just what to expect, and that’s a little scary. Writing is an active thing. I sit down, I type what pops into my head, then a few weeks later I review it to see if it sucks. After a few cycles, I reach a point where I’m happy, and off it goes.
This is going to be a reactive thing, rather than an active one. I’m not going to be fixing things I thought were wrong. I’m going to be fixing things someone else thought was wrong, or could be improved. I don’t have the same level of control anymore, and that’s making me nervous. Not because I consider my story perfect by any means, but that little voice that sits in the dark corner of my mind and whispers things I can’t usually hear, now has a soapbox and a bullhorn.
What if they want me to change something that I thought was the best I could possibly make it?
What if they want me to change something and I can’t figure out how to make it sound right?
The rational part of my mind tells me that everyone who has ever been published has gone through this same process. It tells me that the people editing my story are professionals and that they know what they’re talking about. Then the bad voice pops up and starts talking again.
I haven’t written anything new, except this, since I got the acceptance letter. Why? Because whatever changes come to the Cue the Sax will affect everything else I’ve written, or will write. I’m having a hard time justifying what the dark voice calls “the wasted time” spent writing something that will end up being influenced by the revision to come.
I once read where the question was asked if only neurotic people become writers, or if writing make people neurotic. I’m leaning toward the latter camp, and most of the voices agree.
Still. I’m excited to see what comes next, and I’m sure that whatever happens will prepare me more for the next time.
Here’s to Phase Three.