neurotic writer encouraged to new neurotic heights

a photograph my mother took--from a place I don't know

About seven years ago, I submitted an essay to an anthology. The editor accepted it! My first acceptance! I told everyone. When I checked the publications website, my essay wasn’t there. I sent the editor and email, and she apologize profusely. The postings were still in progress. Of course it would be there. She assured me.

No, it wasn’t. I wrote again.

It was never in the anthology and I never heard back.

“When is your essay coming out?” friends asked.

“Oh, well, I’m not sure that is really going to work out,” I said, and changed the subject.

So in the middle of January of this year, I received an acceptance of a story. Now, my first acceptance! The email said, “…this offer is firm…I will send a contract in one or two weeks…” I told everyone, of course. You, probably, if you were reading that day.

One week. Two weeks. Three weeks. Four.


I wrote back something along the lines of I’m very excited about the chance to be in —, and you mentioned possibly using some of my art. I was wondering what images in particular you had in mind and–if you’re still interested–what format I should send them to in. Also, I wanted to make sure that any other emails you may have sent weren’t accidently shunted over to my spam filter and that you weren’t waiting for a response from me…” Something like that.

No reply yet.

I can’t help but wonder something has gone wrong. Again, friends may say, “Hey! When is your story coming out? I can’t wait to read it!”

Sigh. Probably it is too soon to worry. These things take time.

But I’m a writer…

my life is filled with words…

and the lack of words…

is filled with panic.


When would you worry and feel like a liar?

8 thoughts on “neurotic writer encouraged to new neurotic heights

  1. I wouldn’t feel like a liar unless I was the one telling writers their stories would be in anthologies without actually using them. I would, however, feel like I’d been lied TO, and I’d make everyone I know aware of that on my blog.

    As you know, I have no objection to complaining on my blog.

    I would be nervous too, Marta. You’re not wrong for being jittery. These things do take time, but c’mon. I just sent my proofs back to my editor this past weekend and that book will be out probably in May or so.

    Please don’t feel you lied, though. You didn’t. You provided us, your supporters, the information you were given. A change in that would NOT be your fault. And we understand that.

    1. If this happens again–I mean, I get accepted only two times ever and each time turns out not to be acceptance at all–I’m going to feel jinxed or stupid. Sigh. Thanks for the support, Darc.

  2. I like the new layout.

    How nerve wracking, having to wait on slow-ass pub people. Try to release it–easier said than done, I know, but it’s out of your control. Good luck.

    1. I’ve finally figured out a layout that lets me use my art and keeps the darkness I want.

      And I’m trying not to obsess, but as May comes closer–the time they said it would be published–I get more angsty!

  3. You may have seen this at the Editorial Anonymous blog yesterday. Amusing, in a rueful way. And it’s about an agented novel, not a shorter piece. The punchline still works, though!

    I don’t know the publications involved, but I know you. Premature to call yourself a liar. 🙂 You might want to hedge your bets by putting the pieces in question back into circulation. (And if you’re worried about the ethics, write or email them first, giving them say a week for SOME sort of response, even if it’s just “We got your message; more later.”) No reason why all the cold-blooded ruthless business sense should be concentrated on one side of the transaction, hmm?

    There are so many vagaries and mischances possible in this whole business. If it helps at all, know that your writing (and art) friends support and admire you for the quality of the product, regardless of your publication history… which is almost completely out of your control.

    1. I didn’t see the post over at EA, but yes–I’m in the publishing zone. Egads.

      Well, they gave me May as a publication time. I’ll wait until then to send it out–because I can’t quite shake the absurd belief that if I’m nice enough, people will do what they promise me.

      But it is the fact of this happening to me twice! (If indeed I never hear from them again). TWICE! And NO publications in between. It would not be “nice” under any circumstances, but if this were the first time or if I’d had other publications since the first “misunderstanding”, i might be reacting differently. But for these to be my only acceptances… sigh.

  4. A lie would be a deliberate falsehood on your part, and that’s not the case, so no worries!

    I’ve seen how freaking slow the pub wheels turn, and one time they even forgot to pay Darc. “Oh, really? Wow, we thought we sent that out, must be an oversight.” Sure, whatever. And that was 6 mos after the proofs had been sent back and the book had already been published.

    I’d say keep doing your part to keep in contact every couple of weeks. Things do move slowly, but if they keep seeing your emails, they won’t forget about you.

    And remember, we’re all behind you on this!

    1. I want to stand up for myself, so to speak, but I don’t want to be a pest and set them against me.

      Thanks for your support, Darcs. You’re a sweetie.

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