sprint finish


It’s been a funny old week, full of ups and downs. I’m feeling physically and emotionally exhausted. My youngest son turned one at the weekend and we had a lovely family party but I’ve been feeling so emotional at the idea of my (last) baby growing up! And, as I mentioned in my post yesterday, his sleep has been terrible this week so I’ve been surviving largely on tea and adrenalin. If I remember to drink the tea.

So, from a creative-writing standpoint, the majority of this week (since my #writingwarriors post last Friday) has been a damp squib. I managed my weekly #limerick challenge over the weekend but nothing more. Then in the early hours of Wednesday morning I wrote a poem inspired by my desperation over the sleep situation and then on Wednesday night – joy of joys – the baby slept through the night!

So yesterday morning, in a sudden rush of energy I was able to turn my desperate night-time poem into something half-way-decent and finish off and submit some limericks to IRON press’ Limerick Nation anthology. So I went from feeling really exhausted and quite miserable to suddenly feeling like I’d achieved something right at the last minute. A ‘sprint finish’ to my writing week!

And that’s given me some new questions to consider this week (for those who haven’t read any of my #writingwarriors post before – hello, my name is Maddy and I’m a question-aholic!)

I got a real feeling of achievement from making the deadline for the IRON press anthology. Of course I have no idea if any of my limericks will be accepted but at least I tried! And it’s made me think about the idea of submissions in general.

Since deciding I’d explore this whole creative-writing malarky I’ve made the sum total of three submissions. One short story, one poem and then the limerick thing. I’ve had two rejections and one answer pending. I’ve hardly been going great guns.

That said, I’m also (incredibly slowly) trying to write a book which I can’t attempt to publish ’till it’s finished and I’ve never had the specific aim of sending lots of work off but, even so, I’ve been watching Stephanie’s ‘year of submissions’ progress with admiration and a certain amount of envy. I’m wondering if I should submit more of my work. So here are some questions and I’d love to hear your thoughts:

  • Do you make a lot of/many/any submissions?
  • Do you find it helpful to do so? (eg does having deadlines help you finish more work rather than leave it ‘unpolished’ on your hard-drive?)
  • Do you tailor your work around what different press’s/magazines etc are specifically asking for? Or just write what you want and then look for somewhere that might accept that sort of thing?
  • Where do you find out about things like competitions you could enter? Any recommendations?
  • Do you make submissions for love or money or recognition? or all/some/something else?
  • Is it worth it, given rejection can be hard to take?

I’m going to be thinking about these things this week. I think I’ll try to put some time into finding some competitions I can enter…

Post Comment Love

11 thoughts on “sprint finish

  1. Katie Clark

    A great post. I’ve been wondering similar and would be interested to hear people’s answers to these questions #PoCoLo

  2. Studio Kaufmann

    Well I have written a few novels, non-fiction books etc I just send out tons and tons of submissions and then forget about it and don’t worry when/if I ever hear back. Good luck with your submissions! Lemmee Know if Mr Darcy rocks your boat??? #PoCoLo

    1. Maddy Post author

      I like the idea of just sending out masses of work and not worrying about it! It just takes me ages to get work to a point where I feel confident enough about it to submit it. I should probably learn to just take the plunge earlier on though as I’m not sure I really gain much from the extended waiting/polishing period. Thanks for commenting!

  3. Aedín

    Hello!Stopping by through #pocolo. I think the best advice is just to put yourself out there, make lots of submissions and see what happens.i think it’s kinda like a lottery, if you’re not in you can’t win.I need to follow my own advice here though!Competitions sound like a great idea too!Best of luck with it all!

  4. Maddy Post author

    Yes, it’s true that you have to be in it to win it! I don’t think I put myself out there enough really. Just need to work out what to submit and where! Thanks Aedin. Good luck with your submissions!

    1. Maddy Post author

      One of the nice things about having a blog is having a space to display your work. But I feel the need to do more! Glad to have got you thinking – sometimes it’s worth putting yourself out there!

  5. Stephanie

    As you know I make a lot of submissions! There are pros and cons to it, I will know these more as the year goes on. I think it can be good to send your work out there, it all depends on what you want really and why you are writing. I am putting it in the category of feedback, I can see which pieces get picked up and which do not. I am hoping it might make me immune to rejection (probably won’t!). I think the down side is that I am a bit rushed and some of the things I am submitting are not where I want them to be because I have to do one a week. Also I am missing out on some bigger competitions because I would need more time to focus on them, I think that will be for next year – pick a few bigger ones and focus on them rather than lots of wee ones. Deadlines help and it is interesting to write about new things when a specific topic is required, mostly what I like is that it makes me think of it as more of a job but that won’t be for everyone.

  6. Maddy Post author

    This is another interesting comment Stephanie. I can see how writing o a specific theme as required by a publication/competition could be good – challenging too!

    I hadn’t thought of using submissions as feedback – that is an interesting idea although what one publication hates another could love as writing is so subjective!

    I like the idea of submissions making you think of it as a job. I think that’s quite sensible and motivational! I think if you categorise writing as a ‘hobby’ it almost makes you take it less seriously. To have success in this area we need to put in the time and dedication just as we would if we were getting paid. And hopefully it WILL lead to getting paid at some point too!

    I’ll be continuing to follow your ‘year of submissions’ progress as I’m interested in all the discoveries you’ll make along the way and in reading about your successes, of course! Thanks for commenting!

  7. Stephanie

    So true about the submissions being opinion based, I have often heard of poets who have a poet trashed by one editor only to have it accepted elsewhere, it is all subjective!


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