That’s what my heartbeat would sound like if I was a Timelord. I’m not. -despair-
What am I is anxious, nervous, and filled with a definite sense of foreboding.
You see, its been about two and a half weeks since I heard from the magazine that shortlisted my short fiction piece. Considering I was told in said e-mail that it could be up to three more months before I receive news that its definitely going in, I shouldn’t be freaking out, but I am. I wake up wondering if an email sealing my doom is waiting for me. Now that I’m all synced up with my new smartphone, every beep from it sends chills down my spine.
I’ve made it this far – why not all the way? I’m a fairly optimistic bloke; there’s very little that really gets me down. This story, on the other hand, is different. It was the first short fiction piece I ever floated to the major sci-fi mags. Its been rejected seven times, revised twice, expanded once, shortened once, expanded again and then shortened. If I nail a spot in a mag with this one piece, my first piece, then the sense of validation will be epic. The explosive growth and expansion of my confidence in my craft will be beyond epic.
And I’m afraid of that. I’ve always been afraid of success – even more so these days as I consider all the wasted time in my life I could have been writing and doing what I knew more than anyone else what I was good at – what I knew that I was meant to do.
I still cannot give you details. Some of you may have already read the piece in some form (its no longer anywhere online though). I even hesitate to tell you which mag has it at the moment. I don’t want to spoil it.
I begin to think about how little effort I’ve put toward my writing. With the exception of the past two Novembers, I’ve not really pushed myself into the daily grind that my craft should demand. This piece that’s floating in limbo was conceived and written in a single day from a prompt of three simple and completely unrelated words, fleshed out and thrown onto the screen in a matter of hours. Every edit I’ve done on it has been completed in no more than an hour.
If I wrote a piece worthy of publication with that little effort, what could I do if writing were my occupation and not just something I did during breaks during work? If I can be successful in a handful of hours, what about the twenty-something years I’ve wasted since I knew I could write? Wasted.
Other things haunt me, other nay-saying demons pop out of the shadows of my day-to-day life and assault me with other regrets and doubts. So what if I get published? It’s not one of the big three – hell, it doesn’t mean anyone is going to read it, and if they do they may hate it.
Ah, but wait a minute, I say. None of that matters, I say slyly.
I went further than I have before, and that is all I can expect of myself every day.