Thanks to Becky Tuch at The Review Review for this piece. I find myself relating to #1, especially. My literary resolution this year is definitely to submit more often:
1. You hold on to your writing too long.
In “Yes, Your Submission Phobia is Holding You Back,” Michelle Seaton says, “In 12 years of teaching at Grub Street, I’ve learned [some] truths about students: 1. They don’t submit enough, especially the most talented ones. Read that sentence again and then ask yourself how many times you’ve submitted something in the past year. Yeah, I thought so. 2. Many of my most talented students never submit anything. This makes me crazy.”
Wouldn’t it be nice if, in addition to all the amazing work editors do with reading submissions, contacting writers, designing issues, balancing budgets and so on, they also had x-ray vision and could see through the walls of your home and inside your desk and know at once all the great work that’s hidden there? And would then call you up and ask you to submit it? And would even put that submission into the mail for you?
But they don’t. They won’t. It’s up to you to get your work out of the desk (or your computer files, as it were) and into that Submittable database, or whatever other mode of transport required for an editor to see it.
Says Seaton, “We writers are expert liars. Here [is one lie] we tell ourselves. I will submit this story soon, when it feels finished. No you won’t. For most stories and essays there is no moment when it will feel good enough. Submit before you feel ready. Like, today.”
What is the worst that can happen?