So I’ve only done one submission this month (to Brain, Child), but it was a doozey because it was a personal essay.
Once I got out my crappy first draft, I printed it out, cut it up to separate each paragraph, and then figured out where each paragraph should go. Then I glued the pieces of paper to construction paper so they made sense.
Then I typed up a quick biography of myself at the end and did an updated end note like the other authors in the magazine do. I wondered if this was jumping the gun. Is the end note something they contact you to comment on if they accept your submission?
At the last minute, I re-titled the essay and added some extremely personal, controversial and relevant stuff that I have never shared before. Somehow the essay would not have seemed complete without this information, and I don’t know how it will be received if it is ever published.
I am a bit afraid, but I am a writer. One of my jobs is to share my experiences and show others that they are not alone. Another of my jobs is to attempt to make people understand things they would normally dismiss.
If my essay doesn’t make me either laugh or cry, my heart’s not in it and an editor will see that it isn’t authentic.
I read it over one more time. It will never be perfect. That’s what editors are for. They can ask me to re-write certain parts, delete some, move some around.
I double-checked the writer’s guidelines, made sure I put my essay in the BODY of the e-mail instead of as an attachment.
Then I hit send. Then I marked it down as my first of a possible 30 submissions for this month and filed it away.
And instead of worrying about it, I’m not going to look at it again until I either: get a rejection e-mail, get an acceptance e-mail or 10 weeks is up and I have to bug THEM.
Then I’m going to get to work on an essay for Mothering.