When I started my senior year, I set a goal for myself: to have pieces of Fiction, Non-fiction, and Poetry published in some sort of legitimate magazine or journal. I managed to pull it off without having to resort to self-publishing some half-baked fan fiction. Though I achieved my goal, I still feel anxious about how other people perceive me and my successes.
The first good bit of news came almost immediately after setting my goal. I had sent Sigma Tau Delta’s Rectangle a nonfiction essay, “Emotional Insulation,” at some point over the summer and at the beginning of the Fall Semester, they’d accepted it. At least I think they have, I’m still not even sure it’ll be published; not only did they lose my bio once, but when I asked to confirm that they received the second, I got no response. Fingers crossed. Despite evaporating email communication, I’m honored to be possibly published there, potentially. They even invited me to attend their conference in New Mexico, and I will attend granted the great gods of school administration take pity on me and give me travel funds.
I decided to submit some poetry to The Burg on a whim which, unlike The Rectangle, was published immediately. And as a true testament to my fame, I got recognized in a local creperie because of the magazine’s vast readership, read: hyper saturation and list price of FREE, in my area. Sadly, being recognized didn’t improve our service. Minor celebrity? Probably not.
Finally, there was ficition. I firmly believed that I could not write fiction. A visiting author, David Crouse, came to my writing class and I even bemoaned to him that I usually get too wrapped up in metaphor and political issues to really write a fiction. He said that concern indicated that I was smart and that he belives realizing you’re not good is the first step to getting better. I still didn’t really do much fiction writing besides cutting unneccessary sections from a piece I had written about two months earier. It was that story that I recently learned will not only be published in our school’s literary magazine, but won the “Best Fiction” award. I also have a non-fiction essay being published, and one or two paintings, depending on space (I don’t think they want me to have four items plus a prize all in the same journal).
I may have won, but I’m still anxious about my success.
Every time I’m met with missed opportunities or hear about artists who have mastered crafts that I truly do not have time for, I immediately feel as if I am not doing enough. That could be you, I think, if you only worked harder. I think a part of me still wants to be the pretty, popular, artsy girl everyone wants to hang out with. I stay up late agonizing over how I should have more followers on my blog, more decorations in my room, more handmade DIY projects, or more presence on YouTube. I am focused on success, which is a good thing, but if I don’t relax, I won’t be able to enjoy the success I already have.
So, yes. I’ve finally achieved my publishing goal! I won an award that will give me an unknown amount of money. I got lots of “congratulations” from friends. I’m beyond thrilled that I won the “best fiction” prize. I may be anxious, but I should try to enjoy the success that I’ve been working very hard to earn.