writing, blogging and holding back – #WhatImWriting

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.cropped-friendly-pencils4.jpg

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?

Muddled Manuscript

24 thoughts on “writing, blogging and holding back – #WhatImWriting

  1. Nicola Young

    It’s good to have that focus. Blogging can definitely take up too much time if you let it. Good luck.

    Reply
  2. Iona@redpeffer

    I know what you mean-I tend to keep my fiction on the blog to shorter pieces or tiny extracts. I like to get feedback as it gives you confidence and motivation to keep going, but I also like to keep most back for the reasons you mention. Reading your post has motivated me though to begin to make forays into competitions and submit to magazines etc-it’s something I’d like to try this year and which I’ve shied away from in the past.

    Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      Oh, glad to hear you’re going to make more submissions Iona. I figure since I write things I may as well start submitting them. Good luck with yours. xx

      Reply
  3. Adria J. Cimino

    It sounds like you’ve made so much great progress! Congrats! I haven’t posted much of my work on the blog, but I probably will do little excerpts of new books in the future. I don’t like to post prior to when it’s actually finished though because I do so much changing in the editing stages! But the advantage of posting pre-editing is getting some opinions and advice…

    Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      Yes you’re right, feedback can be helpful, particularly when posting extracts of longer works. With shorter works though, even if you edit them after posting they’re still too similar to what’s been on your blog to be considered unpublished. Thanks for commenting Adria and I look forward to reading some excerpts from your books. x

      Reply
  4. Reneé @ Mummy Tries

    Sounds like you’re getting yourself properly in the game now lovely. I think it makes sense to keep your best work for competitions as it all has to be original material. Best of luck, you know we’re rooting for ya xxx

    Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      Thanks Reneé. I’m planning on getting myself in the game, but I do need to actually write things and I’m currently on a bit of a ‘go slow’. I’ll get there though!

      Reply
  5. Sophie Lovett

    It’s a difficult balance isn’t it? I’ve been really wary about posting too much fiction on my blog for precisely the reasons you mention, but at the same time it’s really great to get it out there and get some feedback, and it definitely chips away at that fear of people reading what you’ve written. It sounds like holding back a bit is exactly the right thing for you to do at the moment – exciting to think about the new opportunities that might open up! xx

    Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      Thanks Sophie – I’m hoping I’m still able to write once I’m ‘writing to submit’ rather than just ‘writing a little something for my blog’! x

      Reply
  6. Aimee

    Oh I think you’re making the right decision! It’s hard, you’re mainly doing it for the love, but you want to get to the next level. That’s how I feel anyway!

    Good luck with everything Mrs – I’m so proud you’re growing in confidence! x

    Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      Yes exactly Aimee. I do love posting stuff on my blog -you get the immediate feedback and people tend to be nice – but I do want to take things to the next level now. Thanks xx

      Reply
  7. Emily Organ

    I discovered the ‘pre published’ issue as well, I used to post short stories on my blog only after I’d entered competitions and failed to win them! And if you do ever self-publish anything and opt for exclusivity on Kindle you can’t publish any of it on your blog (or anywhere) which I’ve heard some writers have got into trouble about. I will be sharing more of my second book than my first on my blog but probably only the published (or almost published) version. I’m still a chicken when it comes to sharing work in progress. Maybe I’ll become braver about that, I hope I will. Good luck with your writing you have planned this year x

    Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      I didn’t know about the exclusivity kindle thing! I think I kind of felt like posting stuff on my blog doesn’t count because not that many people read it but actually, once it’s out there it’s out there. Maybe posting stories once they’ve failed to win is the way forward – at least then they don’t just sit around gathering dust on the hard drive! I’m looking forward to reading more extracts from your book – and the book itself when it comes out! xx

      Reply
  8. Tanya

    Haha, I should have read this before I put up my last post! This is exactly the dilemma I wanted advice on, i.e. how much of my writing to share on the blog. You’ve had some interesting advice here that I will take on board, and well done on making so much progress with your writing!

    Reply
  9. Morgan Prince

    I was reading about competitions recently and wondered about entering, until I read the pre-published clause. I have published work on the blog and didn’t even think about it until recently. I don’t have much advice for you because I’ve never submitted my work anywhere but I wish you all the best. x

    Reply
  10. Rachael

    I agree with Nicola on the focus thing. I am actually thinking of moving from two blogs to one and posting less this year too, to focus on building my business and spend more of my writing time on getting back into my novel! I’m sure I’ll be posting about it when I’m closer to making a decision…

    Good luck with all your submissions – perhaps you’ll find you end up posting about acceptances soon enough!

    Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      Thanks Rachael – that would be great but I’m not holding my breath. I have no idea how you manage more than one blog! Let me know when you make your decision. xx

      Reply
  11. Dana

    Funny, I read this days ago and thought I commented, but must have only been in my head :)

    I love your blog and it’s so generous that you’ve been with posting your writing and poetry here – BUT, you’re totally right to hold back your best work for contests and competitions. Then when you win and/or are published elsewhere, you can direct us there!

    I never publish my fiction here, everything is hoarded up and sent out. Then again, for years I was blogging about my family and not my fiction, but even still, I think it’s best to try out bits on your blog, but save the biggest slices for possible publication.

    Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      I think you’re right Dana. The thing is I write a lot of flash fiction which is so short you either share none of it or all of it! So I’m going to have to cut right back. xx

      Reply
  12. Chrissie Metcalf (Kristina)

    Good plan. I know we had a conversation about this a while back. I tend to write on the fly but have a very small collection of stuff I haven’t published. Novels are both easier and harder in that respect – you can’t really blog a whole novel to get feedback, and perversely being unable to blog a novel means you don’t have to hold back.
    there’s a balancing act here.

    Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      Yes, you’re right about novels – it’s possible to share bits and not really give much at all away about the whole thing! i know you’re writing masses and holding things back from the blog at the moment – looking forward to hearing more about how the ‘poem a day’ is going! xx

      Reply

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