Thoughts for Friday – 1st August 2014

Can I admit that I did something stupid last week?

I actually pulled my finger out of my ass, tidied up a short story I’d written a few months ago and sent it off to a writing magazine. Not only did I commit to submitting my piece for the coming month’s competition, I also agreed for them to give me a critique on it. Cue me completely crapping myself for the next four weeks!

Some may call the submission brave, others may think me foolhardy for even contemplating that my work could stand up to the high standards of other more experienced writers (that would mainly be me and my rather large dose of self-doubt). Even now I am unsure of just what the hell compelled me to submit to the magazine in the first place. The fact remains that there is noting I can do about it now. My little chick has flown the nest and it remains to be scene whether she stays airborne or crashes to the ground in an ungainly heap….

I suppose that the time for post-mortems will come later, for now all I can do is sit back and pray that my short story won’t get torn apart by those critiquing it. If they do, well, I guess I’ll have a better idea of what I need to do to get something published in the future.

Someone once said that writing is damn hard work (or words to that effect) and I’ve come to realise on my own creative journey that no truer words have ever been spoken. Writing is spending day after day in front of your computer (or typewriter if you’re particularly old school), pulling your hair out in the hopes that some magical idea will spring forth as you gradually grow bald.

So what is it that compels us to subject ourselves to such sweet torture?

Well, if I had the answer to that one then I guess I’d be a very rich woman! I think I’ve remarked many times why it is that I write – mainly because it is not only something that I am compelled to do but also because my writing makes me feel as if I have a voice and one that can be heard.

If there’s one thing that I’ve learned in life, its to commit yourself to something with everything you’ve got. You only get one shot at this life and you never know when your chances will suddenly dry up on you. There’s no point in waiting for tomorrow to hand you something on a plate – you’ve got to get out there and grab it for yourself. If you’re going to do something you might as well throw the kitchen sink at it, that way you can hold your hands up and honestly say that you gave it your all.

Life is too sort for regrets and second guessing the choices that you might or might not have made. At least if you give it everything you have you know that you can hold your head up high with a clear conscience. We all make mistakes and it is that which makes us human. You’re going to get things wrong, fall at the first hurdle and even end up making a complete prat of yourself, yet none of those things can compare to not giving it your all – that truly is the biggest mistake you could ever make.

Submitting your work for publication is rather like pulling your pants down in front of a room full of people and asking them to judge your rear end. It takes courage (and perhaps a rather large dose of stupidity) to subject yourself to that, but if you don’t try then you ain’t ever gonna know, so you might as well commit and do it with all your heart. After all, Vincent Van Gogh didn’t do too badly for himself did he?


Filed under Thoughts for Friday

16 responses to “Thoughts for Friday – 1st August 2014

  1. I’m proud of you for submitting your work, Heather. So many writers do not and I refuse to call myself out… πŸ˜‰ Have a great weekend, my sweet friend. β™‘

  2. Adan Ramie

    Submitting stories for publication is strenuous, courageous business. Not only do you have to polish that story until it shines harder than a shirtless vampire on a tree limb, but then comes the market research, (is it really right for this magazine, or that one?) which includes following those submission guidelines to a fault. After you click submit, or send, or attach your scroll to the leg of a majestic, downy-coated owl, you endure the nail-biting agony of waiting — sometimes up to six months or more — for something, anything, from the busy editor.

    But it’s so worth it when you finally get that acceptance letter, and you can say, “My story was published by XYZ Journalzine.”

    Congrats on your accomplishment, and good luck to you!

    • Thank you and thank you so much for describing the whole process much more poetically than I did in my post!

      Attaching my scroll to the leg of a downy-coated owl sounds so much more appealing than pulling my pants down in a room full of people! πŸ™‚

      Perhaps it was fate, but I received word back from the magazine just an hour or so after I published my post. I shall reveal what happened soon…..

  3. There are many people who don’t get that far due to fear or self-doubt, so major well done on submitting it! And good luck, though you won’t need it! πŸ™‚

  4. I love you Heather and this isn’t meant as a dig. I almost didn’t post this comment, afraid it would hurt you. Your stories will suck. My stories will suck. Everyone who reads your blog and hasn’t submitted a story to a magazine or a traditional publisher; their stories will suck.
    People tend to think of the rejection letter as some finite conclusion to their work. Many people point out that famous writer xyz or abc was rejected x number of times before their book found a home. It’s romanticized. Usually the story is told in a way that besmirches the idiotic publisher who passed on the best selling story due to their own incompetence. But, abc and xyz writers gleaned something from their rejection. They incorporated that into their next story, their next submission. I have my very first rejection letter framed on my wall.
    The worst thing that can happen to a young writer is overnight success. I emphasize overnight success because I refer to it in it’s truest form: a relative nobody on a Friday and a mega-best seller on the following Monday. Not the romanticized “overnight success” where the writer has written for ten or twenty years and they finally can make a living doing what they must do. (That, I wish on everybody.) Quick success leads to complacency. A writer needs to want it so badly. They have to hunger for it. Some of the best writing is from that very deep desire to create art. The hardest breakup will often lead to finding true love.
    So, and this is the part that might sting a little, I hope you get rejected. Not because I’m a raging jackass. Not because I’m jealous. Not even because I don’t want you to succeed. But because I know you are a talented writer. I know you have something wonderful to offer to the world. I can’t wait until that day happens. Then I can say, “I knew Heather when she got her first rejection letter.” People will respond, “She got a rejection letter? Stupid editor didn’t even know she would have multiple best sellers and a four movie deal.”

    • Hi Mark,

      Thank you so much for this, I want assure you that I was in no way hurt by the comments you made and I understand exactly where you’re coming from when you say that it’s a good thing to get a few rejections before finding success.

      As it happens, I received word from the magazine just hours after my post was published and I will be putting a post together in the coming days in regard to the outcome.

      I just thought I’d tease you all a little bit until I reveal what happened….. πŸ™‚

  5. I echo everything that is said by everyone else. The scariest thing about sharing your talent is the fear of rejection and for the the love of god waiting for that response… but just remember every quip every criticism will light your fire to keep improving and pushing. And every cheer and hug from those that believe in your talent will humble you. My biggest successes as a writer have come after someone took at chance on me- it made me finally take the chance on myself. Cheers to you my friend in taking that step forward- no matter the outcome your still one step closer to greatness because you made the leap.

    • Thank you so much for your words of encouragement, they are very much appreciated!

      I have heard magazine but I am saving the details of their response for an upcoming blog post…. πŸ™‚

  6. Good for you! And the very best of luck, you’ve got the talent.

  7. You know my thoughts and support on this, so I won’t repeat them here. I’ll just say that you are my inspiration and dearest friend, and that I have great faith in you. I’m very proud of you, Heather. ❀

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