Thanks for all your fab #WhatImWriting posts last week – we had the most linkers we’ve ever had! Chrissie is hosting this week so if you’d like to link up please head over to Muddled Manuscript.
In terms of my creative writing, this blog has been invaluable to me over the last year-and-a-bit. When I began it I had very little confidence in my own writing ability. Although I’d been writing on and off for years (and had been dedicating more time to writing while on maternity leave for the previous year) basically my work amounted to a few scribblings and a big, fat demon of self-doubt.
Starting the blog was a kind of leap of faith. I had a vague notion of ‘charting my writing journey’ and ‘finding a community’ but I didn’t really know how it was going to pan out. Turns out it was a great leap to take as over the past sixteen months I’ve found a wonderful writing community and have certainly used the blog as somewhere to write about my writing, set myself challenges, and build my confidence.
I’ve also published a lot of my own work here. I’ve just had a quick check and last year I posted fifteen short stories/pieces of flash fiction), twenty-five poems and over thirty limericks. With the occasional exception they were all written within days (or hours) of hitting ‘publish’ so that’s over seventy original creative pieces in less than a year. That’s a fair bit of my work that’s ‘out there’.
I don’t think it’s what I imagined doing when I set out. I think I intended to write about what I was writing rather than actually show people. I certainly remember the fear I felt when I hit the ‘publish’ button on my first poem. I was cringing as I waited to see if anyone would even comment and I wondered what on earth they might say. But the feedback was good (more because people were kind than because of the poem’s quality I suspect) so I published more. And the more I published the more confident I felt. I realised it didn’t matter if it wasn’t perfect and that the world wouldn’t end if people read what I’d written.
And now a year later I’m not scared to publish my work here. I also have the confidence to submit work and accept rejection. But I’ve also realised that I can’t keep putting so much work on my blog. I wanted to submit to a competition last week. I had a poem and a short story in mind that, with a bit of extra work, I would have been happy to send off. Only I couldn’t because I’d posted them here and that counts as ‘pre-published’ work which this particular press (and pretty much all others) won’t accept. Fair enough. But frustrating. And yes, I could have written something else but inspiration wasn’t flowing and I was concentrating on writing other things anyway. It felt like a missed opportunity.
So I’ve made a decision to publish less of my work on my blog. I’ll still be posting limericks and I suspect the odd story or poem but not at the rate I was before. I need to start holding work back. I want to start writing for competitions and in response to submission requests. Yes, it will mean more rejection but I feel more resilient now. I’m more up for the challenge. And this blog will still be here for me to cry and rant onto when the rejections get too much.
Oh and I’d love to know about other writers’ creative output and blogging- how much work do you publish on your blog? Do you hold a lot back for other submissions? Any advice?