One of the main reasons I have put off sending any writing of mine out to publishers is because I thought I should wait until I was a better writer. I am my own worst critic, being a perfectionist comes as naturally to me as breathing. The trouble is I am never good enough, I struggle with this continually. I always set the bar way too high and end up knocking my chin on it. Then I just give up even trying to jump.
I worry about being wrong about my ability. I think I write well, but what if, like those people on Britain’s Got Talent who are so utterly convinced that their playing of the triangle is legendary, I’m actually completely off tune and not at all entertaining? I worry that my spelling and grammar isn’t as good as it could be. I worry that I just haven’t got what it takes.
I could spend years waiting until I am ready. I could do a writing course, and once I am sure I have a flawless grasp of the English language and understand everything there is to know about writing, then I can begin to feel worthy of showing my writing to publishers. However, thanks to Jeff Goins, I realise that this is the least helpful way to go about things. In his book, ‘You are a writer so start acting like one’ he talks about practising in public. Although learning more about the skill of writing is a valid thing, more importantly, I must put my words in public. Receiving honest feedback and criticism is what will help me to improve.
My practising in public has started with submitting short stories to magazines. I have committed to sending out a short story to a magazine at least every couple of weeks. I sent out my first story a couple of weeks ago and I’ve had a reply to say, ‘thank you but it’s a no this time but do keep us in mind’. I wasn’t expecting success on my first attempt so that no didn’t sting as much as I feared it might. I have now submitted the same story to a different magazine and am waiting for a response. My second story will go out on Monday. I will just keep doing this, writing, and practising in public. This formula will work! It just feels so good to be submitting and to know that my writing is out there, rather than hidden inside my computer hard-drive!