Its one thing to write something and quite another to have it polished enough to submit it to a competition or to a publisher for review. Even if your goal isn’t to be published, its a good practice to explore as an educational pursuit.
Submitting your work forces you to think and view it in a different way. Its no longer a piece of text lurking in a notebook or squirrelled away in your hard drive. By sending it into the outside world, you have given them permission to judge it on its literary merits against an array of other prospectives. It demands that you tighten up your phrases, polish your prose and guard your grammar.
Submitting your work to trusted and quality competitions can be both time and financially intensive. It does the spirit great favours should you be placed, win or gain feedback about your work. The flip side is that you gain no feedback, allowing fear to question your skill.
Submitting, even to small competitions allows you to test the waters with your style and ideas. Although you may never win a competition or have a piece accepted into a magazine, anthology or for larger publishing opportunities, the act of preparing your work, having it beta read, edited and polished forces you to think deeply about every word you committed to the page.
For those whose goal it is to be published, submitting assists your journey wholeheartedly. For those whose journey is the experience, what better self improvement and reflection tool is there than piece by piece?
If you think that submitting is ‘not for you’, consider these points.
- Out of 100 people, approximately 80 want to ‘write something’ at some point in their lives.
- Out of those 80, only 40 will complete one story or article.
- Out of those 40, only half actually submit a story or article.
- Out of the twenty submissions, five won’t follow the guidelines, five won’t follow writing rules for genre or rating, and at least two will use poor formatting, grammar, and punctuation. Those entries will not make it through the first round.
- Out of 100 people, there are 8% remaining. This may be a higher percent than may actually be reality, and of course may differ from genre to genre. However this group contain professional competitive writers who tenaciously continue to hone their craft.
Where in this oversimplified model do you fit?
If we are playing a game or odds, the chances of your work, if it has been edited and beta read, thoughtfully written, has an excellent chance of making it into the second round for consideration.
So – as Dory says, “just keep swimming” – or in our case, just keep submitting, write to your best ability, create stories from unique angles with interesting characters and you may just find the publication opportunity you are looking for.
Photo credit Peaceful Quilter