Saturday, February 14, 2009

Submitting (Oneself?) (to Editors?)

So I've ended up submitting a lot of stuff this week, oddly:
  1. My novel manuscript to the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest, as mentioned a few days ago.

  2. The National Communication Association conference deadline was Wednesday, and I submitted an academic paper idea as part of a panel proposal.

  3. The Purdue Literary Awards deadline was this Wednesday, and, figuring "why not?" I spent a couple of hours formatting, printing out, and submitting a bunch of different pieces, a couple analytical, the rest creative.

  4. I'm polishing up and about to send out our co-written academic book chapter which was accepted back in late fall in proposal form (now the whole chapter's due by tomorrow--mostly done except for that "final" polish).
In all this writerly submission activity, I've been thinking a lot about what it means that this process is called "submitting" and "submissions," words that are given very different (often negative) valences in other contexts.

The truth is, that submission of writing pieces involves submitting in some of those senses, though not in a completely negative way. That is, it involves submitting to at least one other person's evaluation of your work--a person that has some amount of power over whether it gets published and/or whether you get some sort of lauds and/or monetary compensation for it.

And that can cause anxiety, that vulnerability that this submission entails. Or we can remind ourselves that that person or persons, while their opinion is valuable, are only one example of an audience for the work. A good audience, and one to learn from if they give you feedback, but not the only one.

Keeping a broader perspective is everything, in some cases. Very helpful for sanity and such.

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