As I'm sure anyone who's had the experience knows, applying to college (or grad school, or summer programs) is a nerve-wracking process. For instance, throughout these past three months, I've had no clue where I'll be living in the fall - or if I'll have anywhere to live at all. Throw phrases like your academic future and everything you've been working towards into the mix, and you've got the perfect brew for a slightycrazytrip.
Any of this sound familiar, writing-wise? Yup, that's right: replace "your academic future" with "your future as a writer" and you've got the life of a writer querying agents, or else one whose manuscript is on submission to editors. The processes are super similar: give 'em the best you got (an application or a book), and then wait. Wait, passively, for the decision of a relative stranger, someone in a room somewhere who holds your future in their hands.
If you look past the sucky aspects, like resultant stress-eating and compulsive-email-checking (we've all been there), that lack of control is kind of exciting. Anything could happen during this waiting period - everything is up in the air. The pressure that's building, buzzing inside you, is a sign of something - something great.
Which is: you're trying. Offering up your hopes and dreams to the whim of a stranger isn't a small act. It's a big one, full of bravery and optimism, brimming with the belief that what you want is possible to achieve, or more specifically, possible for you to achieve. No matter the result of your effort - no matter what that godly stranger decides - you've already won something just by trying. You've beaten back the anti-living monsters that plague so many people and just gone for it.
So next time you send a query, or enter a round of submission to editors, realize the reverberations of your actions. I'll try to remember, too, as I receive the rest of my college responses over the course of this week (yay!). How do you feel when your send your work out? Scared, nervous, exhilarated? Or something else altogether?