NOT A DRILL: One of My Stories is “Under Review!”

I just got this email:

Dear Christine Tyler, 

Thank you very much for letting us read “[story].” I enjoyed it and have passed it up to the editors for review. 

Thanks again, and best of luck! 

Kind regards, 
[slushpile reader]  

Ahhhhhh!!! Let me explain what this means for those of you who could use a little background. When submissions come in without an agent representing them or special consideration, they go into what’s called “The Slushpile.” It means your story gets thrown into a big ol’ digital swamp with everyone else’s work — the good, the bad, and the ugly.

For that reason, many magazines have their interns or non-leading editors do the time-consuming work of sorting through the “slush” to find the gems. Slogging through the slush is a notoriously grueling job, and I suspect all the words just kind of bleed together after a while. So getting out of the slushpile is kind of a feat, especially when you have no credentials to grab someone’s attention. You just have to have, like, I dunno, a good story or something.

This email doesn’t mean I’m getting published. It does mean that I’ve made it out of the bottom of the slush and onto an editor’s desk. It’s really just “Out of the frying pan into the fire,” in some ways. You could argue that it would be kinder to not tell me I’m so close. (i.e. My Worst Rejection Yet)

Of course, given the option, I would want to know. I’m glad I know. Because now I can spend the rest of my day in a cold sweat, vacillating between ecstatic delusions of grandeur and existential dread.

And, of course, this all adds up to me being a little vulnerable right now. My first instinct was to keep this a secret. I wanted to wait until I found out if I made it — so if the answer was “yes,” I could just skip this moment of uncertainty and share a celebratory post. And if the answer was “no,” no one would be the wiser. No one would know I had “failed” after getting so close.

But then I thought of my last post all about rejection, my intention to take you through every step of the journey. And I realized that if I share this, my anticipation and nervousness can be yours too! ha! You’re welcome!

If I don’t make it, my disappointment can be yours as well. But if this story does get published, I’ll not only get to share my success, but the relief and excitement behind it. I won’t just have people cheering at the finish line, but you’ll be running alongside me.

So here we are, guys. I’m choosing to try out loud. And if I fail, you’ll see me fail. And if I win, you’ll see me win. And if I really let you in, maybe it’ll feel like you’ve won something too, just for believing in me.

So thanks for coming on this journey with me. How’s that cold sweat feelin’?