by Joni Abilene

One thing I will admit about myself is that I have absolutely no confidence. I can draw, write songs, play guitar and piano, I can write comprehensively (most of the time), but I have no confidence. Not one speck. I think that’s why it’s so hard for me to submit work to agents and journals. It’s not that I am afraid of failure, it’s that I somehow set up a pre-failure within myself. If you think about the word ‘submit’ the definition is to yield and surrender; to give; offer to the gods; let go. It’s all very passive and scary. It’s not at all empowering as it’s sometimes suggested you’re supposed to feel. And I think some people do feel empowered when they submit their work. “Aha! Reject it. I dare you!” I never think such things. I’m always nibbling on a hangnail, triple checking for errors, hoping I have the editor’s name right, all commas in place, links in order, etc. I just know something is wrong.

I’ve never been a social person. You’d think writing would be the ultimate goal for a recluse. But instead I’m finding that writers—the successful ones—area all seem to know each other, agents, editors, publishing houses. They’re all twittering on twitter, and meeting at readings. I’m so awkward. All I have is these stupid words that I write, and they’re never good enough. But I can’t stop writing. I just can’t.