I’m continuing to join in with Kate Motaung’s online discussion group On Being a Writer, which is based on Ann Kroeker and Charity Singleton Craig’s book On being a writer: 12 simple steps for a writing life that lasts. One of today’s prompts, which is based on Chapter 6 of the book (which discusses submitting our writing), asks us to consider what’s holding us back from submitting work, what steps we could take to make it happen, what goals we need to set ourselves and what fears we might need to put aside to be able to submit our work. Here goes with my response…
I thank Ann and Charity (and obviously Kate) for opening this up as a topic for reflection (and discussion, as part of the group). We, as writers, need to make clear what it is we want for our writing and, then, on this basis, create our plan of action to be able to achieve those goals.
As with many of us who’ve joined this online discussion group, we’re all natural writers, in that we write frequently. Many of us have expressed an interest in putting more effort in to our blogs or writing for publication or we have a general sense that we want to ‘do something’ with our writing.
I myself know I’d like to publish a (or several) book(s) and I’d like to publish articles in relevant publications (there, I’ve said it ‘out loud’!). Now I’ve done the work to identify this aim, I need to break this in to a set of goals and then put the work in to achieve those goals (it’s like anything in life: I’m only going to get out of my ‘public’ writing life what I put in to it).
As Kate says, in order to achieve a (very commendable) success rate with the articles she sent in for publication, she needed to research publications like it was her job. [Then do the work once a positive response had been received].
I understand this. I do.
I plan daily (my life as a self-employed single mother would not work if I didn’t have many, many plans in place) but I do have fears about executing plans to achieve my writing goals.
They’re all fears centred around the main fear that I’ll put the time in and it won’t give results. As time is very precious around here, I can’t afford to waste my time. I can’t take time away from the many balls I juggle in the air if I’m not certain that it’ll pay off.
But, as I’ve started telling myself (and hearing myself saying) more often, as a result of this discussion group: I’ll never know if I don’t at least try.
And the one that’s been niggling in the back of my head, and getting louder and louder recently: I’d actually never forgive myself if I don’t at least try.
It’s one of those moments now, for me, where the bigger picture is absolutely overtaking the fears.
If I don’t make time to put the work in, I won’t reap the benefits that might come from seeing my writing go where I’d like it to go.
So, given my tight schedule, what can I do to market my work (now there’s a scary word if ever I heard one!)?
- I already make time for writing so I’m going to dedicate some of that writing time to finding markets and finding out how to submit (thanks, Kate, for the list you supplied today; I’m definitely considering submitting to some of those publications)
- As my good friend Julie suggested, I’m going to organise some of the writing I already have and make a portfolio so I’ll have that ready (there may even be things in there that might be ‘publication-ready’ already)
- Make a set of goals for how many submissions I’ll make per week and make a commitment to myself that I’m going to stick to those goals
- Organise a system for tracking submissions
Breaking the whole ‘scary monster’ down like this, in response to the prompt today, has been a lesson in itself: that the things we feel are really ‘not-do-able’ are, in fact, when we face them head on a) not as scary as they seem and b) somehow, actually, do-able if we do the mental work and get to a place in our heads where we can accommodate them.
I’ve read the minds of amazing women throughout this discussion series, and have really enjoyed their writing; I hope we’ll all manage to get to a place where we feel confident enough to take the next step (whatever that next step means for each of us).