Winning The Writing Lottery
There are two great pieces of writing advice that I've held onto:
1. Never throw away a piece of writing (no matter how bad or undeveloped it is).
2. You won't ever get published if you don't send out your writing. (A.K.A, you can't win the lottery if you don't buy a ticket.)
Even when my writing goes through dry periods, I always try to have something out in the world. That's when advice #1 comes into play.
Sometimes you won't always be able to write new content, whether life is busy or creativity is low, but if you keep all those old ideas and drafts then there's a piece of writing somewhere that you can edit and clean up.
Maybe it's reworking an old poem, or taking that short story idea and developing it a little more. Maybe it's even taking a piece that was rejected before and tweaking it based on feedback, or for a different audience.
The point is, as long as a piece of writing is submitted somewhere, that's a chance that it could get published. And as soon as you get that acceptance or rejection notice, then it's time to submit another (advice #2).
Now sometimes it's not always the story that's lacking, but where to submit it. Finding the right journal/magazine/publisher can be just as difficult as the writing itself. Here are things I do to keep my submission arsenal just as full as my writing arsenal:
Now, you've polished up your writing and researched places to submit. This is where I'd like to add a third piece of advice: create a submission records document.
Trust me, it can be really easy (especially with how long it can take to hear back on a submission) to lose track of where all your work is. I prefer to use Excel to keep track of my submissions, and have a template you can download in this blog post if you'd like.
But if spreadsheets aren't your thing, just make sure your documentation includes the following pieces of information:
There you have it! Though it may seem like the odds of getting published are sometimes just as unlikely as the odds of winning the lottery, it's not true. If you keep putting your work out there and continue developing your skills, I know you'll find success.
So even when it's hard, keep playing the game and scratching that ticket. You never know, someday you may hit the jackpot!
Ah, springtime, a time of renewal and refreshment. So while you’re hitting those closets hard with spring cleaning, how about shaking up your writing routine?
If your writing routine has gathered dust from disuse, or it’s become drab and dreary from repetition, here are some things I do to refresh my routine and get those new ideas flowing.
Listen to writing podcasts. My favorite writing podcast that I tune into regularly is “Writing Excuses”. It’s only 15 minutes long so it’s easy to fit into your day, and the authors that host it have great ideas and suggestions for almost any writing topic or issue that you’re interested in. Plus, they’re usually pretty entertaining.
Read about writing. There are a lot of great books and blogs out there that can energize your writing muscles. Some recent books that I’ve enjoyed are Medieval Underpants and Other Blunders by Susanne Alleyn and Writing Fiction For Dummies by Peter Economy and Randy Ingermanson. (Yes, I’m serious! It was actually a fun, broad overview of the fiction writing process.) I also enjoyed Jerry Jenkins’ blog post, “8 Steps to Writing a Perfect Scene—Every Time”.
Write differently. This can be trying a new genre that you usually don’t write in, using a different story format (flash fiction, novel, novella, etc.) or even changing the font you usually type in. (I kid you not, I changed my font to Comic Sans when I write my drafts now and it rocked my world. Something about it being silly allows you to write more freely without having to worry about the final product yet.)
Hi, I'm Jessica! I'm on a mission to make my writing better in hopes of becoming a published novelist. It's been a crazy journey so far as I learn the twists and turns of the publishing world, but it's been worth it. Though I'm still learning how to be the best writer I can be, I'm excited to share what I learn with you. Happy writing!