Panic at the Deadline

Sam, I’m going to need to vent about how worried I am. It might be needless worry, product of the Old Battle with the Critic within, but nevertheless.
Recently I submitted a short story I have been slaving over the past weeks with to a scholarship memorial contest at my Uni’s English department. I’m sure most writers who read this can relate that our stories are like our babies, and we don’t want to let them go much more see anything bad happen to them, like being rejected. Well I guess I’m that guy. This is probably going to be a foreshadow for me as a possible future father watching my child grow up and even experience failure. (Hopefully I’ll have a wife who can cope with a writer). Not to say I’ll be clingy parent or anything, but you get the gist. The fact remains: I am in constant fear over my recent submission.
What if it wasn’t good enough?
What if I didn’t squeeze out every possible scenario or emotional note from my characters to make it have that punch the other stories wouldn’t?
What if I’m worrying too much?
What if…
I have read and re-read, edited and re-written countless passages with equal drafts, trying to find each secret my characters and world has hidden in the corners. It still doesn’t feel like enough. Before I submitted it, I was talking to Kristen about the draft I sent her, and she most wisely said “it never feels finish.”
Well, no shit.
I know I’m not alone in thinking these things. I’ve read books that address this issue and wrestled with in my mind, sometimes even remembering my own characters telling me things they say in the stories. Yeah, my own words used back at me by a character that has become a living member of my mental faculties. None of it seems enough, to coax the temperature down from a nervous boil to a placidity on par with Aang’s clearing of his chakras. Why, though? Maybe I am over thinking this. Welcome to my life. I guess I’m made to suffer *sigh*.
I know I shouldn’t be too worried. I’ve done the best I could….I think. Kristen REALLY helped me out. Funny thing, I asked people over a month ago, when I decided on what short story to submit, if they were willing to volunteer their time to read and help me out on what I had so far. People responded. I sent them my shit. No replies. Except for Madame Gloss. I’m not surprised, you see. When you’ve been asking people to read your work for so many years, you start to determine just in the nature of replies who is reliable and who isn’t. Kristen, as I always have known, has been a constant reliable source for my evolution as a writer, and I am grateful for our friendship and our fellowship. There aren’t many people in the life of a writer whom you can really rely on, and this rule is inclusive to other professions. She says it’s a really good story with powerful language and such; her words, not mine. And she’s told me that the updates I’ve made will make it even better. I guess I need to remember to listen to her. Usually, she’s right. She’d probably tell me it’s natural to worry. Then she’d probably say it’s just me being me. Oh well, perhaps she’s right.

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