I’m not often anxious about submitting to publications/competitions. Perhaps hiding behind my laptop helps; perhaps, amid the hundreds of rejections (ew), I’ve had just enough successes to keep me hopeful; or perhaps I’m a little masochistic when it comes to my writing! The main reason, though, is that I’ve found coping mechanisms. During low moments, I tell myself these things:
- ‘There’s no particular reason why they wouldn’t choose my story’ – My story isn’t bad, I’ve edited it well, and I’ve been a good girl and followed all the publication’s submission guidelines. Hey, you never know.
- ‘Let yourself daydream’ – I like to submit stories to big competitions, not necessarily because I think I’ll get anywhere, but because dreaming about winning or being shortlisted is such a joy. Again, you never know.
- ‘Someone’s got to win, and it could be me’ – There’s a reason I won’t win the lottery: I never buy a ticket. You must be in it to win it. Your ‘competition’ might be a huge pool of brilliant writers, giving you little chance of even being longlisted, but…your chance is not zero.
- ‘I’m not being personally attacked’ – It’s not about me; it’s about my writing. Even then, a brilliant piece of writing isn’t guaranteed publication. There are many factors at play.
- ‘It doesn’t matter’ – I love writing. I would write stories even if no one read them. Perhaps we sometimes fear submitting our stories because we use it as validation – if we’re accepted, we feel good about ourselves, if we’re rejected, we feel bad about ourselves. However, our worth shouldn’t be defined by our publication record, and if it isn’t, then what is there to fear?
- ‘Submitting a story is a technical action’ – If all else fails: Just do it. It’s a series of physical actions. Your storytelling might require emotion, but reading a bunch of rules, formatting your story to align with requirements, and hitting send, doesn’t. Hit send because you’ve decided to…not necessarily because you feel like it.