It wasn't until I started to actually submit short pieces of fiction for potential publication, that I realized what a difficult task it is to send your "babies" out into the cold, cruel world of editors. You spend so much time loving and nuturing them, obsessing over every word and punctuation mark, only to send them to a faceless potential publisher and wait the seemingly endless days, weeks, and months for your reply.
For me, the responses have all been rejections so far, but I hold tight to hope. I have only just started on this submission journey and there is a long road ahead -- and hopefully light at the end of the tunnel.
What I have learned, aside from a basic sense of patience ( a difficult lesson for me) is that the mere act of submitting can be very liberating. To have built enough confidence in your work that you honestly believe you have a shot at that elusive acceptance. What a feeling. :) Somehow it makes the entire idea and process of being a "writer" feel real. I am loving that feeling.
I have three submissions out now, and they may or may not end up in print or on the web -- that remains to be seen. But either way, I am feeling like a winner for just taking that first, big step.