I've already gotten farther than I'd expected this early in the year. I published a story to the Kindle market - yes, not my longest, most elaborate work, but one that meant a lot to me. While self publishing may not sound particularly accomplished to some people, for me the hardest struggle of writing is not publication. Yes, I would love to be rich and famous solely because of words I put onto paper (or into a word processor if we're going to be boring and honest about it), but that isn't the part where I struggle.
For me the difficulty creeps in when I make myself share the words at all. It's a strange war within myself that I want a thousand people to read what I wrote and yet I get scared to show anyone the stories and poems at all. I can say honestly that being a graphic designer has helped me learn to take criticism. Getting feedback from clients and changing things to match their specifications is part of the job. Thanks to that, I've learned not to take suggestions personally.
When I first tried to get published at the tender age of 12 (no, honestly, I sent out so many submissions you would not believe it), I was crushed by negative feedback or, when I wasn't crushed, I was horrifically embarrassed. I won't lie and tell you that I like hearing that something I wrote is below par or missed the mark, but now I can at least hear the words. They might sting, and I might fight them for awhile, but in the end I go back, I reread, and if the criticism is valid, I rewrite too.
I've realized that I'm ready for people to see what I'm doing. Now all that's left is to sit back, caffeinate, and get some real work done. Wish me luck!