Submission Phobia

By Michelle Seaton @ grub street daily

If you’re feeling discouraged about your work, I guarantee that your number-one problem is this: You aren’t submitting enough. I might not know you, but I know I’m right about this.

In 12 years of teaching at Grub Street, I’ve learned three truths about students:

  1. They don’t submit enough, especially the most talented ones. Read that sentence again and then ask yourself how many times you’ve submitted something in the past year. Yeah, I thought so.
  2. Many of my most talented students never submit anything. This makes me crazy.
  3. The students who publish most often submit constantly, as though it’s their job, or their final year on Earth. And guess what? It works.

I think I know why you don’t submit: It’s easy to become so comfortable in the womb of the supportive workshop or writers’ group that the thought of having a cold eye cast on your work is paralyzing.

Also, we writers are expert liars. Here are the top three lies we tell ourselves.

  • Rejection is all powerful. You think rejection is proof that you have no talent or that the work is no good. Actually, the only thing a rejection proves is that you sent out your work. Good for you. I suggest you collect ten of these and then reward yourself.
  • I will submit this story soon, when it feels finished. No you won’t. For most stories and essays there is no moment when it will feel good enough. Submit before you feel ready. Like, today.
  • I’m afraid that my work will end up in a journal that’s not good enough. Right. Because keeping the work moldering in your hard drive for a few years is a much better fate for it. No one knows how prestigious a journal is or isn’t—except for those at the very top. So stop obsessing.

Read the rest of this article on grub street daily (254 words).

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