It was some years back in the early 90’s when I decided to summon my courage to send my writing off for publication. At the time, I had been writing for many years, purely for a pleasurable hobby and during High School I had let some of my friends read what I’d written. All the time though, I had it in the back of my mind to be published; I always had a dream of being a published author.
After leaving High School I did some correspondence courses on writing and had written some incomplete stories, but I really wanted to try my hand at writing a short story to get it published in a magazine. It was then that I wrote my first ghost story. I was working full time and let a co-worker whom I trusted to read it. ‘You wrote this yourself?’ she asked, clearly surprised that I had done so. Now, whether she thought that was a good thing or a bad thing, I’m not sure, but she seemed to think what I had written was alright and I sent it off to a popular Australian women’s magazine.
The wait was excruciating and I can’t recall how long I ended up waiting, but in the end I eventually received a form letter in the mail with my story returned. I admit I wasn’t too happy, but when I read my story again I was horrified; with new eyes I realised my mistake. It wasn’t as good as I thought; clearly I had more work to do.
I sent my work out when I wasn’t ready and looking back, I now know that I wasn’t completely confident enough within myself at the time either (perhaps I was also aiming too high to begin with). It has proven a great learning experience though and that piece lies amongst many of my other papers hidden away somewhere, gathering dust. I keep it as a permanent reminder of just how far I’ve come.
What was your very first piece of writing as an aspiring writer? Where is it now? Collecting dust or has it been published?
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19 thoughts on “Is Your First Piece of Writing Gathering Dust?”
Maybe it is time to get that piece out and revise it again until it is like you want it and then send it back out. Don’t just let it gather dust.
Good luck with your writing and all the best.
Patricia @ EverythingMustChange
Hi Patricia. Thanks for the suggestion. You could be right and by looking at that piece again, there might be something I can work with (no matter how bad). This is one of the reasons why I never throw any of my writing out. Best of luck with your writing too! Thanks for stopping by. 🙂
I think a lot of us sent work out before it was truly ready. But that’s how we learn and grow and get better at our craft. 🙂
Hi Madeline. My thoughts exactly! Sometimes it just takes a while before we realise when we’re well and truly ready. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂
I love ghost stories so I bet I would have loved that story you sent out. It’s great it was such a good learning experience for you.
It’s great to meet you through the iWSG!!
Hi Julie. I’ve always loved ghost stories – they truly are the great unknown. I could re-work that piece one day (if I dare to look at it again). It’s great to meet you too and it’s good to be back at IWSG! Thanks for stopping by. 🙂
Nice to meet you. One of the things I love about blog hops is meeting people from around the world. I’m from Canada and I write suspense.
I have many stories collecting dust too. I like how you use them to remind yourself how far you’ve come. They all hold a small chunk of my heart in them all the same.
Thanks for sharing your post.
Hi Jo-Ann. Over the years I’ve come to learn not to throw any of my writing out – call it an organised mess. 😉 It’s great that you write suspense. I grew up watching a lot of Alfred Hitchcock movies, so suspense has always been one of my favourite genres. It’s nice to meet you too – it’s great to meet other writers from around the world! Thanks for stopping by.
Debbie, I know you know you aren’t the first to send a ms off too soon. Editors understand that. They know you’ll grow as a writer. They rely on that. What you’ve done here is shown a new writer just what they shouldn’t do. Kudos to you for that well learned lesson. And congratulations in advance for your published novel. It’ll come.
Hi cluculzwriter. Thank you so much for your comment! I never could figure out when was the right time to send my writing out, but I think it all comes down to confidence. If you have the confidence in yourself that you have put in all the hard work and you’ve done the best you can, you will get there eventually. And I really do believe that blogging certainly helps! (I just wish we had the internet when I was younger) 🙂
You and me both. Would have saved me years of tough learning. Thanks for visiting my blog, Debbie!
I definitely sent out my first book way too soon as well- I had a lot to learn! And…still learning. =)
Hi Leandra. I’m sorry to hear that, but I hope for your sake that’s not the case regarding your book. There’s always something new to learn, after all, if we’re not learning, we’re not trying. Wishing you all the best! It’s good to meet you. 🙂
It’s amazing what a little distance does. Bet that rift is really wide now.
Absolutely Alex! Thanks for stopping by. 🙂
That’s why I’m so glad online publishing/self-publishing wasn’t really an option when I started out in the 90s. I SUCKED. I needed all of these years to get good enough for my work to see the light of day!
Hi Stephanie. I shudder at that thought too! My writing back then certainly sucked and would hate to have had any of that published, so it’s been a good learning curve. Back then, though, I would have loved to have had the advantage of social media for the sake of community alone; I believe I would have learnt more, quicker, I’m sure. Thanks for stopping by.
I think lots of writers are guilty of sending work out before it’s ready.
I know I’ve been guilty of submitting flash fiction to online journals/e-zines when pieces haven’t been quite ready. Some pieces were returned with constructive crit which was a plus because I got to learn my strengths/weaknesses. So in a way, it’s part of the learning experience/journey.
Nice to meet you via the IWSG!
Writer In Transit
Hi Michelle. You were fortunate to have some of your pieces returned with constructive criticism, as I have yet to receive any of those; usually I hear the sound of silence and know it’s time I need to move on. 😉 Thanks for stopping by – it’s nice to meet you too!
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