Sometimes the inspiration pours out of me onto the page. Thinking of a time in my life long ago, far away, I remember, and I write. I take all sorts of time to connect with my feelings and thoughts, and find the meaning behind my words. I scratch it down on paper, then transfer it over to the computer, in it's own tiny little file. I reread what came out and it brings me to tears. I change a few things here and there, and then send it off to my critique group. They give me more feedback than I could imagine, and so I sit back down with the words and edit. Revision comes in fits and starts and spurts and twists. I keep at it. I keep at it. Eventually, I let it sit for a week, two, a month. Until I am ready to see it again. I send it off to a friend for commentary. Then another short course in revision ensues. Finally, with nowhere left to move the essay on my own, I send it off into the world to a handful of editors who might just like the words I have chosen, in the form I have chosen to put them. Then, I wait.
A mere month later I get a letter from one of the editors with a handwritten note of suggestions on how to improve the work. And an offer to look at it again, should I do these revisions. I am filled with joy, glee, excitement. I manage to secure a weekend away from my family to lounge in a wilderness cabin and write and revise. I am pleased with my work. I send it back to the editor. Then, I wait.
And I wait.
And I wait.
Finally, I give up. Actually, I forget about that essay and spend a year working on other things.
Then one day, 13 months later, I am sitting in front of my computer, while my sick kid watches TV for the third day in a row, and an email pops up onto my screen. Pilgrimage Magazine Essay Acceptance it says. I read this email. And in this email I discover that I am an author.
I think about the time, long ago when I wrote that essay, and feel encouraged. We were sick a lot that winter, and yet I still managed to write something that now, today, an editor of a literary magazine wants to publish. My family has been sick a lot this winter too. And it has been quite a hard time. But maybe, even so, the words I am connecting with, the ideas spilling out onto the page, the twists and turns of editing that are coming in fits and starts this winter, maybe if I am able to just keep at it, someday, someone will want to publish these words too. Maybe I just have to wait. Patiently.