To begin, AHHHHHH I’M PUBLISHED! ON A WEBSITE THAT’S NOT MY BLOG! AAAAHHHHHH!
You can read the short piece here: Rubber Gloves. And Lysol. by Christopher Taylor
I got an email yesterday from Mr. Richard Edwards, the editor of the fantastic website Every Writer’s Resource. He had seen my short piece I put up on their Literary Magazines page (Note: this is a fantastic place for writers who want to get their work out there for editors and publishers to see.), and he liked it. He told me so in his email. He said if I was interested they’d like to publish it on their Short Stories page. I was thrilled, and I of course gave my consent. This began an intense, stress filled day of constantly checking and rechecking email and their website, rereading the email I had gotten to make sure I was understanding it correctly, and generally just freaking the hell out.
Today, I’m going to take you through the emotional journey of an aspiring author’s first real publication. Warning: it can be exhausting. The first feeling is elation, euphoria, and a general sense of surrealism. You get blindsided, and it’s very hard to concentrate on anything else. You want to tell everyone, and you tell a few select people, but you decide to wait until it’s official before bragging about it all over the place. Then comes the waiting. You wait, and wait, and wait, and you start to doubt yourself. You think maybe you understood wrong. Maybe they changed their minds. Maybe it’s just an email spammer, but that doesn’t seem right because how would a spammer know you had submitted that particular piece, et cetera et cetera.
The day is filled with normal activities, but you can’t spend any effort on them. You go through it all in a state of mindlessness. You can’t think about anything but your prospective publication. You check the email again. You check the website again. You show the email to your wife and ask her what she thinks it mean. You recheck the reply you sent. You go to dinner with your wonderful cousin and have a lovely time, but in the back of your head there’s an itch. You want to get out your phone and check your email again. You go to the bathroom and use the privacy to check. Nothing. There’s nothing there. Is this another rejection? Is it a cruel game?
Back to dinner. You enjoy the rest of the evening. You told your friends you’d either need to celebrate or commiserate tonight, but you don’t have any real news yet. The whole charade is falling apart! Back at home, you go for a walk with your wife. You try really hard to not check your phone because the battery is almost dead. After the walk, you open up your laptop. You immediately check again. Nothing! You watch a show and lay in bed. By this point you’ve reconciled yourself to rejection. You’re ready for it. You’re expecting it. You fall asleep. You dream strange, stress dreams about your wife having a baby and also having an ex-husband that turns into your good friend, but now he’s not her ex, but she still has one. Neither of these things have any basis in reality, but they serve to make it a generally restless night.
In the morning, you wake to the sound of a blowdryer. You get up and start folding the clothes that were washed the other day, but you haven’t gotten around to putting away yet. You make a cup of tea. Wife goes off to work. She comes back a minute later because she’s decided to wear some more practical shoes. You check the email. Nothing. Not that you were expecting anything. You know that today is just a day. You check the website. Hit refresh.
AND THERE IT IS!
You make a sound in your throat like a strangled marmot. Your wife asks if it’s up. You say yes. You both jump and dance and kiss each other and make big plans to celebrate later. You immediately hop on all of your social media and share it with the world. You write a blog post. It feels like you’re on drugs. You float around in a haze of fame and grandeur, even though that’s entirely unwarranted. Then, you get back to work.
There are two comments from friends and family I want to share because they epitomize the experience so well. The first is from before the story was officially published and it looks like this:
— Andy Sherwin (@andysherwin) June 3, 2013
The second is a small wisdom from the Facebook post where I announced my publication, and it says:
It would be a nice feeling to get used to.
And now, the only way that’s going to happen is to become a meth addict, or keep writing. I think I’ll keep writing.