I remember when I was a kid. December 23rd, always. That was the day, never fail, that we would cap off our fall semester, for TWO WHOLE WEEKS until the middle of the first week of January, when I’d return, with the other rugrats, to the doldrums of the classroom.
Now, we weren’t rich, weren’t upper-middle-class, just hard working folk that had enough to cover what we needed and then just a little bit more. I never had the latest, most expensive toys that come from the time-honored tradition of Parents Gone Wild on Black Friday that carries over to this new generation. No, I say, my parents went not for the latest fad for me, but in the unique and interesting thing that none of the other kids had.
On Christmas Day, I sat giddy, surrounded by what was always the coolest collection of childhood curiosities, and, aside from playing with them, I couldn’t wait to show the toys off to my friends.
Of course, we lived on the wrong side of the tracks (not really, but we were separated from our village and lived on its edge.) So I had to wait. All of this magic under the tree, and I was forced, through circumstance, to sit on my hands.
This is short story writing. You spend days in anticipation, and, like my parents, try to find that unique thing, pouring your heart through your mind through your fingers to a page or screen and at some point, you’ve created something that you want to show to everyone you see. But you can’t. It’s not like you’ll ruin it, or spoil it. It’s just that–and this is lesson #1 in being a writer–people have limited amounts of time. Someone who reads every story you write as soon as you write them is a rare treasure. 90% of your friends will read it. 10% of those people will actually read it, and 10% of those people might get back to you the next time they see you. Don’t hate the players; life’s hectic.
Mostly, people, if they read it, will read it when it’s published somewhere. And getting a story published takes time. You have to pick a spot, lookout for open submissions, etc.–even a good writer has to sit on their hands for a while.
So, moral of the story: if you see a writer who looks like they just landed a half-court shot, but no one saw it, they probably just finished a kickass short story.