Is it the fear of failure? Lack of interest or motivation? Time? Forgetfulness? Wandering Muse? Because if you’re a writer desirous of getting your writing out into the world, you’’ve got to submit it to be in it. A submission schedule is part of my routine, in as much as I have one as a writer, but I hear from time to time how few Antiguans and Barbudans actually do submit to some of the admittedly few regional opportunities available.
Working on the TOTO Antigua and Barbuda issue, I see some evidence of that even with reaching out directly to some, not just putting out a general call for submissions. Things that make you go hmmm…
Because I get asked so often, how do I publish? No doubt different writers have different answers but for me, it doesn’t begin with publishing – but with imagining, and living, and reading, learning, and writing, and ultimately submitting – a poem, a story, to begin, that manuscript when you’re ready… and each of these helps feed the other…as you submit you face rejection from which you bounce back and learn, after which you keep imagining, reading, learning, growing, writing…submitting again when it feels right. Submitting has helped me accrue publishing credits, has helped introduce me to readers and critics who might not otherwise discover my work, has helped me to set goals and push myself, has helped open up opportunities I didn’t even consider as possibilities…some publications are more difficult than others to get into, some prizes harder than others to capture, but that just makes me strive harder…if I want it. So I guess the question is, how much do you want it?
My answers to the obstacles above – there is fear of failure and rejection (and depression on the heels of rejection) but there is also determination, I want this too much not to self-motivate, which makes moot things like time and forgetfulness, and as for that wandering muse, writing isn’t just waiting for inspiration, it’s meeting the page and doing the work. And the thing I have to check every day, the thing we all need to check every day, is how am I standing in my own way?
So, let’s get out of our way and reach for the opportunities.
If you’re Antiguan and Barbudan and you meant to submit for TOTO but didn’t, you still can to email@example.com
If you didn’t submit to BURT last year, and why didn’t you, well, there’s always this year.
And I’ll end on that ‘search’, research is a big part of the submission process, involving reading back issues of the market you’re submitting to; understanding the type of material they publish will help improve your odds of success. Of course, if you bet on yourself and make an effort to submit your best work, the odds are always in your favour. So, no Excuses.