“It’s a case of the chicken or the egg,” The doctor commented at the look of annoyance on my husband’s face. My constant eye rubbing had exacerbated an existing condition, but the question of whether the rubbing had been the initial cause of the condition or visa versa is medically unknown and not just for me. What has this got to do with writing you ask?
I’m glad you asked that, probably not a lot, it’s just that after speaking with a friend the next day about the publication process marathon, I found myself lamenting the fact, that for me at least, it would go a lot quicker if I submitted a lot more. Here’s the chicken part- me. No, seriously the chicken part is submitting and the egg, publication. It would seem obvious that it’s the chicken comes first, but the reality is you have a greater chance of being published if you’ve already been published. While this seems crazy, it’s probably no different than any other career, you need experience to get a job, but you can’t get the experience if you don’t have a job. Or can you?
You can it appears, in the writing world anyway. In fact, I’ve even discussed it before in an earlier post. I’m not going to repeat the need for looking into children’s magazines, websites and competitions here. I’m more interested in the effect of publication success, any publication success on the writer. Cue return of the chicken and the egg. I know I’m not alone in having an almost paralysing fear of submission. Only fellow writers will understand this, when discussing my poor submission rate with aforementioned friend she uttered the classic line, “Just do it, what’s the worst they can do- say ‘No’,” Well YES actually, that is the WORST they can do! No’s a killer. A creativity murderer, a self-esteem serial killer, no’s the worst! So with no egg to show for my efforts this chicken stops trying…for a while. Am I alone in this? I’d love to hear whether other writers feel the same. Please let me know in the comments section below this post.
The thing is, without sounding conceited I hope, I have a pretty good submission success rate for the anthologies to which I’ve submitted. I have either been published or just missed out. At Conferences editors have spoken favourably about my work and when I’ve gathered the courage to submit to publishers I have actually received more than form rejections letters. Then the doubts kick in; they were just little local anthologies, the editors and publishers were just being polite or positive, a rejection is a rejection and the biggie am I really good enough? The trouble is as you’re no doubt aware, the only way to know for sure, the only way to succeed is to submit and it’s that success which makes me want to submit. So the cycle continues and the chicken and the egg return.
So, here’s to more eggs and being less of a chicken.
Farewell fellow travellers
Savour the quest