I was reminded this week, by a writer friend, of how nerve-wracking it can be to begin submitting your work. Checking submission guidelines, crafting the perfect query, boiling a novel down to a three-page synopsis. As writers, our profession is crafting words, so why are submissions so difficult?
Part of it is that this "novel" is not just a novel to us -- it is a living thing, like a child, that we have created. It must be nurtured, cared for, until it is ready to make its way in the world. For us, we want to know it can stand on its own merit and, as a reflection of ourselves, shine as we so hope it will.
To further complicate the process, if you can write a 200-300 page novel, words are your business. Trying to distill that much information into three pages seems unrealistic. And, to capture the true essence in just a query, is plain torture.
But, we do it. For if we don't, our creation will languish: in a box, a filing cabinet, or on our computer desktop. We write for ourselves, but we also write for the approval of others. We write what entertains us, but we know that someone else will be entertained by our words as well. So, we take that giant leap of faith, after editing and rewriting and editing some more, and send our creation out into the world.
Letting go is difficult for many of us, but in order to publish, we must accept that we have made it the best it can possibly be. There is a sadness, a let-down, while we wait for the acceptance or rejection that follows, but we keep on doing it. For us, there is no other life but through our words.