I set some new writing goals for myself at the beginning of the month. I had just watched another birthday pass and decided it was time to write some new year’s resolutions. The year was new to me, and this seems to be more sensible I think, more personal than the start of the calendar year, and maybe that means I will be more likely to keep them. One item on my list is to submit something, somewhere, every month.
I find writers’ websites, social media posts, and emails listing Calls for Submissions and writing contests all the time. I have also heard that writing short stories is great practice for would-be authors. With those considerations, on top of the dreaded “write every day” adage I addressed in the last post, I decided to try this out. Maybe having short stories to write and contests and such to which I could submit them will help me have a focus for writing everyday, even if the characters in my novel are not currently speaking to me.
Yet I find myself stumped once more in regards to my question – Am I wasting my words?
I don’t believe writing short stories is a waste of words, don’t get me wrong. What I don’t know though is how to decide which publications and contests are worth giving those words to.
Every writer fears to submit his or her work to some degree. It means handing over one’s soul for others to judge. To me, submitting fresh stories to these contests and Calls for Submission seem twofold in the fear department. Not only do I risk rejection, no one ever gets completely comfortable with that. If someone says she is, she’s lying, or she doesn’t care and therefore isn’t really a writer. But I also find myself afraid of giving over what could possibly be a wonderful piece of work to a less than stellar handler, the risk being finding out the piece was worthy of publication and is now lost to the ether in a place that no one reads.
What if that was my one breakthrough piece and I wasted it somewhere it would never be seen? Many publications do not accept simultaneous submissions or previously published work, you see.
So am I wasting my words sending off stories I work hard on to all these calls and contests?
Is it possible to waste one’s words? Or does the effort and practice make the potential loss worth it?
And how does one really know which are the worthy receivers?
Lastly, is it silly of me even to wonder and fear, considering my work may not be good enough to publish anywhere, ever, anyway?