Personal · writing

Jumping In

Save for a handful of spectacularly notable exceptions, I was never one to just jump into a body of water.  I preferred to wade.  It didn’t matter if it was a pool, a lake, a river, or the ocean, I always liked to take my time and let the water inch up as I moved further and further from shore.

When it comes to life experiences, however, I tend to favour the opposite approach.  When I try a new thing, I generally don’t dip my toe in, try something out casually, and then decide it’s for me.  For example, after maybe one trip to Lloyd’s roller rink after seeing ‘Whip It’, I decided to “put on some skates and be [my] own hero.”  It led to the first of two aborted attempts to throw myself into roller derby.  I didn’t watch some games or research the sport before deciding that it was for me.  I saw it and said “Yeah, I’m doing that.”

(Ask most of my friends and they will tell you that not only do I throw myself in, I pull other people in with me.  I am the “Instigator Friend”.)

Writing is the exception to my ‘jump right in’ philosophy of hobbies and activities.  I’ve been doing it since I could hold a pencil.  Over my lifetime, I’ve flirted with pursuing my passion, with college classes, (rejected) publication submissions, piles of ‘transformative works’, and stints as a writer for Sweet Lemon Magazine and a contributor for Nerd HQ, but I’ve never really jumped in and committed to making it happen for myself, because I rarely believe my work is good enough or ‘ready’ for consumption.

Yesterday, I changed that.  I jumped in.  I took a story I wrote when I was nineteen and revised it, for the first time ever, because at nineteen I wasn’t ready to take my peers’ criticisms or do the workshopping necessary to make my stories better.  After I revised it, I submitted it to a short story contest.  I won’t say which, since, if I do hear back, it won’t be for a good, long while, but I did it.  That’s the important part.  I uploaded it to Submittable and I hit ‘submit’.  I achieved my goal of submitting work for publication.

It was terrifying.  I kept thinking about the last time I submitted a story for consideration and the form rejection letter I received in return.  Nineteen year old me was heartbroken by it.  What writer isn’t at least a little heartbroken by their first rejection, though?  I let that heartbreak dry up the ink in my pen for over a decade.  I’m proud of myself for submitting my story, even though I was scared, because it meant that I wasn’t allowing that rejection letter to have power over me anymore.

It meant that I was finally jumping in.

(The water’s great, by the way.)

3 thoughts on “Jumping In

  1. That’s awesome! One of my writing teachers told me that you’re not a real writer until you’ve been rejected. Rejections are proof that you’re trying.

    Stephen King was about to quit writing and trying to be published before his wife made him submit Carrie. Remember that. You’re doing great!


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