I hate submitting my writing

Photo by Sebastián León Prado on Unsplash

I hate submitting my writing.

I know that sentence was the subtitle, but it’s true enough to bear repeating.

Everything else about writing I like. I like sitting down in front of my laptop and opening a new Word doc. I like how my brain feels when I am writing and it is going well. I even enjoy the physical sensation of my fingers moving while I am typing. So much so that if I am stuck, I keep my fingers moving typing gibberish or chain-of-consciousness blather like here I am just typing away a-waiting for my brain to catch up with my fingers until actual writing words start happening again.

But submitting?

I don’t like it one bit.

A friend of mine says something similar about hunting. She likes everything about it except that the animal dies. She likes getting her gear ready, loading the truck and driving out of town, setting up camp, being outside, stalking (she really likes stalking), and setting up the shot.

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She likes all of it. Loves it.

Right up until the time comes to pull the trigger.

In the writing world, pulling the trigger means clicking the send button to ship the piece off to a magazine or website to be read by an editor. Here on Medium, it isn’t the send button, but the publish button. And instead of sending the piece off to an editor, the publish button sends the writing speeding off into the world. It’s terrifying.

For why?

As a five-year old friend of mine asked me once, For why are you writing this?

In this case, I am doing it for the accountability.

Productivity gurus like Tim Ferris and James Clear (and I’m sure others), recommend using public accountability as a tool to improve our ability to stick to new habits or self-improvement commitments such as writing more or eating better or working out more regularly.

Public accountability tactics include making a bet with friends or hanging a calendar somewhere other people can see it and checking off the days you meet your goal.

In my case, I published a piece on Medium. In that piece, I made a public commitment to submitting at least one piece a week to a Medium publication. To my surprise, it picked up some claps and some people started following me. (Thanks!) It was super motivating.

This morning I’m happy to report that I’ve checked the box about submitting to a Medium publication for this week. I submitted a short story that I really like and have been trying (and failing) to find a home for to The Junction. After reading a fair number of their stories over the last few days, it looked like it would be a good fit. Here’s hoping they like it.

As for this piece here, it started as a result of following my other rule to write at least an hour a day. It picked up a little steam so I figured I’d polish it up a little and send it out into the world after the first one.

So, here goes. I’m going to hit publish and this piece is going to leave — to steal a line from Tom Waits — just like a bullet leaves a gun.

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