Tuesday, 21 March 2017

The Tyranny of the Submit Button

I've recently entered a few writing contests - didn't win the first one, didn't expect to but looking forward to the feedback - and I started thinking about how hard it can be to submit my work.

As many of you will know I have had to walk a long and rocky path to calling myself a writer and acknowledging  that I consider myself to be a writer. Sharing my work has been difficult at times, especially anything of any consequence. My WIP remains unseen by any eyes than mine and I can't imagine sharing it, especially with those writers whose opinions I really value. Of course they are exactly the people I should share things with but that's for another day. I pop bits and bobs on this blog but nothing which I consider to be my real writing.

So submitting my work is something that scares me a bit. I bit the bullet and entered the first contest at the beginning of the year. We were set some criteria for a short story and could opt for feedback on the story even if we weren't chosen to progress. I chose to get feedback and have a couple of days to wait until that arrives. I didn't expect to win, I'm just a beginner after all but felt it was time to flap my writing wings a little. The second contest's deadline was yesterday and in a few weeks we will find out how we did and again get some feedback. I'm proud of myself for putting my work out there, it's a step forward and I hope will help me to develop as a writer.

I've also booked a place on a writing retreat later in the year and I know that during that weekend I will have to share my work. And in person, face to face as well! More scary stuff but I'll get through it. So I feel that I'm making progress and that makes me happy.

The submit button is a scary thing though. Every time I go to press it I have doubts. I worry about whether I'm good enough, whether I have any 'right' to put my work out there, whether I am kidding myself. Yet I know that there is no way I can improve, grow as a writer if everything sits on my hard drive or in my notebook. So I'm having to pull on my big girl's pants and just do it. I need to embrace the reality of being a writer and let my stories fly. A question occurs to me: can I call myself a writer if no-one ever reads my work? Don't writers need readers to exist? Just a thought ...

So I'm making a promise to myself. I'm going to look for opportunities to submit my work and to share it. Not just the little blog posts and linkies but the real stuff that I've worked hard on and worried about. I'll put it out there, ask for feedback and make it work for me.

Take that, submit button! I'm coming at you.

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