I had the incredible fortune to be part of a retreat this weekend with 10 of my fellow writers. It was wonderfully fun and vastly inspiring. Writing with friends, bouncing ideas off each other, giving feedback, and sharing knowledge – this felt like the life I’ve always wanted to live. Adding excellent food, laughter and just plain old fun made it perfect.

Thanks to the encouragement of my peers, I achieved a very important milestone – I’ve completed my first submissions to publishers. One of my friends at the retreat kindly shared her knowledge of the submission process with myself and a few of the others who have little experience with it. She and several others helped me workshop some titles for one of my pieces that I’m proud of but could just not find a name for. A bit of editing once a title was selected and I had my first submission done!

I’ve been so intimidated by the process of submitting things to magazines and journals. It seemed like such a monumental task – figuring out which publications are accepting, what pieces might fit best where, knowing what the rules of each publication are. I had no idea where to start, so I just dithered about it and did nothing.

Surprise, surprise, it turns out that maybe I’m not the only one that struggles with this and so the internet has a ready-made solution. The aforementioned friend showed me The Submission Grinder and how to navigate it. Suddenly this hugely intimidating task was no harder than going through a list of relevant publishers and filling out an online form. Thanks to her sharing this knowledge, I submitted three different stories to three different publications this weekend. The backlog of ready-to-submit stories I had has been cleared out just like that.

I’m being realistic and know that the chances of any of these first three submissions being accepted are very, very low. I don’t care. I’m just so pleased that I’ve started the process and have moved past the intimidation and fear. My first rejections are just steps on the path to getting my first acceptance. I’m actually on that path now, not just looking at it and thinking I’ve got to get moving soon.

I honestly don’t know if I’d have made it this far if not for the decision a year and a half ago to move past my fear and join a writing group. I can still feel the dread in my stomach the first time I read a piece to them. That fear was almost crippling; I had to fight so hard to make myself do it anyway.

Without that, I’d still be writing, I’m sure. But sharing my completed novel with people? Submitting stories for actual publication? I have my doubts. No matter what the endeavour is, I’m completely convinced now of the value of seeking out others doing the same things and sharing your experience. Trying to do it alone is just making it harder on yourself.

Beyond that, it’s been a joy to share what I’m doing, be it with my friends & family, with my writer’s group, or here with you on this blog. Find your people, let them help you and try to help them. Put yourself out there for rejection so that the acceptance can follow. I’m ready for those “Sorry, it’s not for us” emails. They’re not the full story, just the next part of it.

3 thoughts on “Now It’s Truly Begun

  1. Rio

    You are so right, sharing is the way to go and it gets better and easier every time we challenge ourselves a bit, not too much that we are overcome but enough to gain useful experience every time! I could not have said this better!

  2. Eric Whiteley

    You surely deserved that weekend and that is a very big step for to overtake.It sounds like you are all ready to accept positive criticism, the first beginings to everything, l think you have it now, go get them,Lots of Love to you

  3. […] I return, as promised, after a week away for a writing retreat. I was with the same group of people last year for a similar weekend. We were at a different location this year and had an extra day, but the vibe […]

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