On being a writer: Send

[If you’re visiting from Blog-tember, my post for that is here (scroll down if you don’t like links!)]

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…

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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).

Helen xxx

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16 thoughts on “On being a writer: Send

  1. heyjude6119 says:

    I can’t wait to read something you will have published. I know you can do this!!

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  2. Gabriele says:

    Since you have been so kind to organize my thinking I will pop myself into the template of your plans and pursue two submission projects. Thank-you for your helpful words.

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  3. carlybenson says:

    Helen, I like the way you’ve broken down the task to have a concrete plan and make it seem manageable. I love your focus and determination and I know you can do this. I really enjoy your writing and I think you also have important things to say that deserve a wider audience so just want to encourage you to go for it!

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  4. Tara says:

    You go girl!!! Your words made me realize that I actually already kind of have a portfolio because I have a binder full of my poetry. Cheering you along to friend! I have so appreciated everyone’s thoughts on this topic. Will be sad to see it end!

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    • iwillbloom says:

      Thanks Tara….I’m sure you must have lots go gems in your poetry binder! I’ll also definitely be sad when the series comes to an end 😦 But I definitely feel I’ve learnt *so much*!

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  5. the way you broke it all down was helpful to me too helen:) i’m glad we don’t have to do the submissions the way ann did. doing them via computer is a lot easier for sure!

    i KNOW you can do it helen, for absolute certain. something tells me that if you are able to provide for yourself in a way that you truly enjoy, you might even find that you enjoy living in the country where you are more…maybe:) while it’s true you didn’t end up there for reasons you are happy about, finding a fulfilling aspect to your life, might just bring more joy in an environment that wasn’t your top choice. who knows:) blessings girl…and peace be with you!

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    • iwillbloom says:

      Hi Martha, thanks so much for the confidence you have in me (and so install in me!)…I am, honestly, sort of at peace with where we are, but there’s always the feeling in the back of my head that my life (and therefore that of my children) would be so much easier if I were in my own country/culture and surrounded by family/friends!! Thanks for your blessings (received gratefully and graceful). Helen xx

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  6. Julie K says:

    🙂 I know just what you mean about the ‘wasted time’ notion [and you have far more demands on yours than I do]. I’m constantly arguing with myself about worrying over taking a break from other, paid, work to do things on spec … and then knowing that until I have some properly produced *finished* articles / ideas / chapters etc … I’ll never be able to turn my writing into my paid work!! All this indecision … my Hamlet obsession should be no surprise to anyone … 😉

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    • iwillbloom says:

      Hey you! I think it’s just going to take a bit of ‘biting the bit’ and going for it (that’s the only solution I see, because this ‘stasis’ is killing me!)….

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  7. Hello Dear Sweet Helen!! Sorry I’ve been behind in blogland – but now my Littles are back to school and today is the first day I don’t have my MIL – so I’m catching up!! I’ve been reading all of your past posts and just wanted you to know so you didn’t think I forgot you. 😉

    So I’ll say first: Happy Blog-a-versary!! I’m so happy I’ve found you and I’m so happy you’re going to keep writing and blogging. You have such a beautiful voice and I love hearing it. 🙂

    Also, I love the goals you’re setting for your self and your writing!! Yay!! It sounds to me like your strength and confidence keep gaining ground and you’re ready to take things to the next level. As you say – you don’t know unless you try. So i’ll just say that I hope you know you have many folks in your corner cheering you on!! We’re here to clap and cheer with such gusto we’ll help provide the wind you need to let your wings take flight. Go soar dear Friend!! xoxo

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    • iwillbloom says:

      Oh Carrie, thank you….your image of you all standing there providing the wind my fragile wings need is too, too beautiful (am in tears)….Thank you xxxxxx

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  8. Christy says:

    “as a result of this discussion group” yes! me too! I’m exploring areas I’ve never even thought about before. I’m with Tara, it’s fun and I’ll miss it when it’s over. Maybe we should start a FB group, what’s it called? Someone mentioned it on the 31 dayers fb page. A group where bloggers can encourage, and help each other.

    Like

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