Seeing your printed word on the page is a feeling that never gets old. Opening crisp paper to see what's inside is a priceless sort of feeling. There's always something that feels unreal about it, not quite real. I've gotten published in a variety of places since I was in seventh grade (of course, I've also been rejected multiple times as well, many more times than I've been published). The first time I got published was in the newspaper in seventh grade, writing an op-ed on censorship, and I've been published a few time since, mostly my poems.
This time is no different. There's still that giddiness, knowing that your work has actually been published. Knowing that so many people are reading it. It never gets old. You still want to run around and announce it to the whole world. It gives you hope that you might actually be talented, that there's hope for you to make it bigger. That you still have a chance. The bigger the publication, the bigger the deal.
Of course, there's nothing like that first thrill of seeing your name in the paper. That feeling is unique. There's also that unreal feeling about it, like one of your strangest fantasies coming true. Then it hits you: thousands of people are reading your work! It's exhilarating. After a while, that feeling stops feeling unreal. Still, there's this thrill that runs through you when you see your name published, that lovely feeling of satisfaction. Despite all of the rejection that you might have gotten, this time you succeeded. That feeling helps give you the encouragement to keep trying to publish more work, because submitting your work is the only way it can possibly be published.
I can't wait until I get a novel published. That would be the biggest deal of all. Of course, it doesn't look like that will be for a while yet. I was working on getting one of mine published but now, looking back, I'm not really sure that it's ready for that. The people who are supposed to be editing it have been taking a while, and I've been too busy to do more with it, so I'll wait. Still, I definitely plan on doing it eventually. It will take quite a bit of time, but I'll be able to do it.
For now, I'll accept these streams of victories and take them for what they are. Because no matter where you're published, it's still pretty awesome.