Life Lessons · This Writer's Life · Writing

Writing: A Change in Direction.

For the past few months, I have been submitting short stories to competitions. I have been doing this on and off over a number of years and despite the continual knock backs, I have been successful once. Perhaps this is why I continue to persevere; after all, when it comes to writing, we do have to be in this for the long haul. However, there also comes a time when we have to admit when something isn’t working and need to consider our alternatives.

It was very timely, therefore that I read a couple of posts by Kristen Lamb Pay the Writer 2 – Out Hustle the Hustlers and Writing Exposure – Gamble or Grift? that got me thinking. The rules of publishing these days have changed. Many writers like myself are of the old belief that if we write and get exposure we are helping to build our CV. This will eventually lead to work coming our way. These days, however, the old rules no longer apply and that older way of thinking can be a bit hard to shake off.

The reality is that by sending my work out to competitions, I’m still waiting for that ‘validation’ for the gatekeepers to accept me. Because I allow my fear and insecurity to hold me back, I need someone to tell me whether I’m good enough for this game and each rejection adds to those insecurities. At the same time, though, those knock backs are a good way to help develop that thick skin. We keep holding on for that win. But the competition is fierce and the win may never come.

Writing for exposure is fine when writing is a hobby, but when it comes to taking your writing seriously and being paid for it, we may need to be a bit more selective. We should be the ones benefiting from our writing and not giving our work away so freely in order to benefit others. My one and only ‘win’ at least taught me that there can indeed be benefits.

One of my beta readers suggested I compile my short stories and self-publish. I’ve been thinking of doing exactly that for some time, but it is fear that is preventing me from doing so. I know that I have now reached a point in my writing where self-publishing is the road I will be travelling. It’s a long road and to begin with it’s going to be pretty rough. In the end though, I do believe that the journey will be worth it. So, who’s with me?

Does fear and insecurity hold you back? Will you be going down the path of self-publishing? If you’re self-published, has it turned out better than you expected? Have you won any writing competitions? Have you become more selective when it comes to your writing?

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Hits & Misses · Writing · Writing Process

One Way to Get Your Writing out Fast.

Some years ago I was always one for entering competitions. I decided to give up after a while once I began to discover that I was paying more in entry fees than I was receiving any results.  It was also around this time that I was persuaded to do something a bit different.

There was a competition to become one of six successful applicants to attend the first Write Around the Murray Festival Writer’s Workshop.  It was to be run by Debra Adelaide, author of The Household Guide to Dying and senior lecturer in creative writing at the University of Technology in Sydney.  Applicants needed to provide three chapters of a completed novel.  I was lucky to have a completed novel up my sleeve, but I believed it wasn’t anywhere near a high enough standard.  Inundated with my University studies at the time, I gave the three chapters a quick edit and sent off my application.  To my utter disbelief, I became one of those six successful applicants.

Not only did I learn a great deal from the entire experience, but I also learnt the value of having a completed work up my sleeve.  If I didn’t, it would have been yet another opportunity that would have passed me by.  If you want to enter writing competitions, try to finish everything you write so that you already have something to send in.  This creates less hassle and stress while trying to meet that all important deadline.  Even if you are unsuccessful, you will have managed to improve your craft while building up a body of work at the same time.

Do you enter writing competitions and how often? Have you had any success? Are you in the habit of finishing everything you write?

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