Why submitting your work is good for you

There are many writers out there who are scribbling away at stories that never see the light of day. So does that make them a writer?

A story is actually a two-fold thing. It needs to be written, of course, but it then needs to be read or heard to make it concrete. That means that there is actually a relationship between the writer and the reader. So in my mind, unless a story is shared, the writer of that story isn’t a true writer.

I know it’s a scary thing to share your writing but until you do you can’t improve your craft. This is why submitting your work to magazines, journals and writing competitions is very important to any writing career.

Have a think about your work. If you were to submit a piece for publication, wouldn’t you work harder on it to make it the best it can be? This means reworking and polishing it. That has to be good for your craft, doesn’t it? This makes you look at your work more professionally.

Then there’s the act of submitting it. This means that you own up to being a writer (or artist because this also applies to all art mediums) and you put yourself out into the world. This is hard for many who are either introverted or unsure about their ability. But you won’t know unless you put your work up for sharing. You will face rejection of course but that will help you improve even more. Rejection is a HUGE part of being an artist of any kind. Learn to grow a thick skin.

It’s a catch-22 really, this whole publishing caper. In order to get published you need to have a known name. Submitting your work to places like page seventeen, [untitled], Going Down Swinging, 21D, Sleepers Almanac, is a way for you to get your foot in the door. This is one of the ways to begin your writing career. Enter as many writing competitions, like our [untitled] short story competition, as you can. You may just be lucky enough to win (yes, there is a certain amount of luck involved in competitions) and get published.

That first time that you have your story published, with your name next to it is one of the highlights of any writing career, not to mention that it looks good on your CV and will go a long way to helping you get published a second time.


2 responses to “Why submitting your work is good for you

  1. Except that Emily Dickinson is one of a handful of great ‘writers’ who as far as I know did not publish in her lifetime. John Kennedy Toole was another. So I think you can be a ‘writer’ without being published. Not that I’m trying to argue that one shouldn’t aim to be published, just that it actually doesn’t make for being a writer (and what of the obverse – all those unreadable but published books – are they written by real writers?)

    1. Thanks for your comment Barbara. There are definitely many writers and artists who were never recognised in their lifetime. I don’t know if they tried though. I still think that sharing your writing, published or not, is useful to your growth as a writer.

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