Before you flee in X-rated uncertainty (or, maybe that’s why some of you cheekier-ones are here?), let me clarify that the submission I speak of is rated “G” for writer-ly audiences. Yes, I’m talking to you, writers, whether you are aspiring, professional, or just have that one story that’s been burning a hole in your lap-top. I’m talking about picking up that over-edited stack of papers, that polished query, that brilliant poem, and finally sending them out. Not tomorrow. Today.
It’s amazing how many people I run into (especially here in blogosphere) who dream, write and edit for endless hours a day, never to submit a page. I’ve discussed writing for love or money already, but this is in a different category. These are people who actually do want to be published, but just can’t, or don’t know how to pull the trigger.
It’s true that there are definite nuts and bolts to the process of submitting your work. Having a strong grasp of these guidelines will increase your odds of publication, and endear you to potential editors. If you don’t know the rules, go to your local library or book store, pick up the current Writer’s Market or any “How-To” in your publishing specialty (of which there are MANY) and learn them! After that, it’s time to submit.
If you’re working on a book-length project that isn’t ready to leave you, yet, you can at least send a few sample chapters to your first readers. Set goals that you can keep, but make sure there is a challenge. Believe it or not, that’s part of the fun.
I’ll admit that I often have trouble with getting my work out. My goal to send one query per day, and one short story or set of poems per week has been difficult to maintain. “Life,” crazily enough, does happen to get in the way sometimes. There’s also the little problem that to submit work, you first need a finished product. On my About page, you’ll see that I’ve been “nurturing” an incomplete manuscript of my own for quite some time. But, I’ve recently felt the red-hot poker of determination, and am ready to finish this baby up by the end of the summer! (And, now that I’ve put this goal into writing, feel free to hold me to it).
There are many blogs on here that post word-count goals, and cite their writing timelines — this is a great start. Make sure you go a step further, and set submission deadlines for yourself, too. Post them online, or write them in a journal and sign the page in blood (red pen will do nicely, too).
Choosing not to send out your work can also be a question of confidence. The act of submitting is, in fact, putting something out there for judgment or approval. Rejection and criticism are not fun or easy razors to swallow. However, most feedback is valuable for improving your work. And, like Papa always said, “You’ll never know, if you never try.”
So, what are you waiting for? Set it out into the world, my friends, and see what comes of it. Your masterpiece was meant to be shared to entertain, teach and inspire others. And, it will make me feel so much better.
Still need convincing? Then, turn around, bend over, and get ready for a fiery “pinch”…