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Get Your Work ‘Out There’!

January 6th, 2012

Helen Yendall pictureWriting is a scary business. Showing or reading your work to others is exposing in lots of ways but for those of us who want to be published, inviting judgement is the only way.

And it takes courage.

Students often ask me, “How will I know when my writing is good enough?” and the short answer is – you won’t know until you try sending it out!

Of course, if you don’t submit your work anywhere, then you can’t be turned down. And therefore, you can never fail.

But you can also never succeed.

None of us likes ‘rejection’ but if you want to be a writer, you have to be prepared for some disappointments. Not everything you write will hit the mark. But getting a rejection does get easier to bear and there are some things you can do to cut the odds a little:

Improve Your Chances Of Success

1. Don’t be in a rush to send off your work and never submit a first draft. Make your writing the best you can by putting it to one side when it’s finished and come back to it later to polish it. Do that again. And one more time.

2. Listen to advice from those whose judgement you respect.

3. Target the right market. Many article ideas and stories are turned down because they’re unsuitable for that publication, not because they are poorly written. Sending your work to the correct place is vital if you want to score a ‘hit’. So save yourself some heartache by doing your homework before you press that send button.

4. Keep a record of all your successes. Even ‘minor’ ones, such as letters published in magazines or being short-listed in a competition. Include any encouraging comments from editors or agents (most will only comment positively if they really mean it – so take note!). Whenever you’re feeling a little disheartened, read your success list to give yourself a boost and to remind yourself that you can do it!

5. As soon as you’ve sent something off, forget it and start work on the next. If one piece of work is rejected or doesn’t win a competition, knowing you’ve got others ‘out there’ will lessen the disappointment.

Fear can stop us achieving our goals. If you’re one of those procrastinators, held back by fear, why not make 2012 the year you’re going to be brave? It’ll be the Chinese year of the Dragon, after all, so fire yourself up – get your work out there!

Helen Yendall is a former Poet Laureate for Warwick, a writer and tutor based in the West Midlands. She blogs at www.blogaboutwriting.wordpress.com

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