First Time Jitters

Let me be brutally honest here, I’m a nervous wreck. Though I have written pieces before with the intention of submitting, I’ve had issues submitting them. I guess I should explain myself a little better. Ok in April of 2016, I joined one of the bigger writer associations in my state. At that time it was too late to enter into their annual competition. This is the Florida Writer’s Association if you are curious. Every year they have two competitions that you can enter. One is the Florida Writer’s Association Collections Competition. Every year they give a topic, and based on that topic you can submit either a poem or short story, no more than 50 lines or 1,200 words, limit 2 entries. So 2016, the competition’s deadline was maybe a week away when I learned about it. In 2017, I thought I was ready, but because I was trying to submit on my tablet, there were some technical issues where I couldn’t pull the document down from the cloud to attach to the entry form. I was out of town and I was trying to pack light by taking my iPad instead of my MacBook. In the Fall of 2017, a smaller writer’s group held their first ever competition, once again I completed the story. But I like it so much that I didn’t want to give up the rights to the contents for a year.

Both groups get the rights to your story for a year if selected to go in their compilation book that will be printed and available for sale. To me, it’s a big deal! Other than school papers, and this blog, I have never had my work viewed in this manner. Now the deadline is here and I frantic examining every word and sentence for any errors. I have written two pieces for this competition, which both have a different point of view on the subject. I can’t help but fret, what if they find them to amateur? What if I’m crazy to think anyone in the writing community might actually find my writing style worth reading? What if…what if I stop worrying so much about what others think!

Yes, I am nervous beyond reason with the thought of being judged. Who wouldn’t be? But I’m also a bit thrilled to even submit any of my work for evaluation. We as humans don’t like to be criticized, we know we have flaws and most are uncomfortable with accepting that. That amplifies with someone who pours their heart and soul into creating something. It’s ours, our little creative baby. Starting out, we get so wrapped up in the negative “what if’s” when it comes to sharing our work. We tend to forget the positive ones. Like what if one of my short stories is chosen and ends up published? Starting to put yourself out there will help you for that big moment. That’s why I’m doing it. Of course being able to say my piece made it into the book would be wonderful. But what is even better, that first sting of rejection. Everyone will not like your work, and some people take great pleasure in bringing others down. Putting your work on a public platform is the most nerve wrecking thing to do. But like all things we do, each time we do something, we get better at it. So here’s to putting yourself out there for the first time. Because once your book is out for the world to see, there’s no taking it back.

On a side note. To help me better understand the critique process, I’m going to start reviewing books. Might not seem like much, but I hate telling someone that their stuff sucked. Reviews are based on opinions which the wrong one could break someone to the point of giving up what they love. But an honest review done without ripping the person’s heart out can help that person grow in their craft. So I will be adding a book review section to this blog in the coming weeks. I will be reviewing whatever book catches my interest. It could be newly released or one that has been out for a decade. This, in turn, will push me out of my comfort zone and make look at things from a different perspective. My hope is that this will make me a better writer to be able to critically look at what works and what didn’t within a story. Well, that all for this post. Until next time word lovers!

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