So about four months ago, I submitted another short story to the Writers of the Future Contest. Urban fantasy. New York. Tabby cat. Ink and glass. The usual works.
And as always, I went through the same phases of “submit-a-story-trauma.”
Feel free to read the gibbering little blog post on it…or let be enough to say that by the time I submitted a story this quarter, just few weeks ago, I was absolutely certain the urban fantasy story was a steaming pile of garbage that needed a massive rewrite and probably incorporation into the novel it was planned for rather than going it alone as a story. Not to mention the fact that I’d heard nothing from the contest–not even the usual “Sorry, better luck next time.”
I really thought they hated it.
Except…I was wrong.
Tuesday I got the email…my story got an honorable mention.
Brainfreeze is the wrong word. Brainblob or “who do what now?” are probably more accurate.
Having gotten honorable mentions before or not, this did not compute.
I spent almost ten minutes rifling through computer files to make absolutely certain it was the story I was thinking of. The one that I hit submit for only because I’d actually finished it and why not?
Yup, that was the one.
Stared at the ceiling.
Ran around my house for a while. Did not cry from sheer disbelief atop stressful life situations (don’t judge). Spoke in fragmented two and three word sentences trying to articulate to a loved one exactly what had just happened. Seriously, anyone who says writers are good with words should try talking to one for longer than 60 seconds. Fortunately, my loved ones are (mostly) used to me by now. Interpretation didn’t take long.
Now I’m still shaking my head a little that they liked the story. Hoping everybody (me included) takes this as one more reason to defy the terror attached with smacking the button for “submit.”
Editing a little of the very first story I ever submitted to WOTF (and literally haven’t touched since 2016 because I thought it was a lost cause) while listening to Oonagh’s beautiful “Zauberwald.” The two seem to belong together.
But for right now…
I’m taking the afternoon off. I think I’ve had enough pressure on myself the last couple of weeks, and no deadlines are threatening doom over my head. So I’m going to take a deep breath. See what it feels like. Waste some time, even.
Worry about tomorrow, tomorrow.