by Willy Doehring, River co-editor
The “Writer’s Workshop” blog posts are meant to be a collage of writer’s tips, tricks, and strategies, including the first steps to publishing, writing prompts, strategies for writer’s block, and a general jumble of ideas to help you in your quest to create and publish.
Submitting a piece of your writing for publication— especially for the first time— can at times be a very nerve-wracking process. Submitting your writing is like sharing a piece of yourself, regardless of what genre or medium you work in. That alone can be anxiety-inducing enough, and that isn’t even considering the number of times a piece can be rejected before it is ready to be accepted (or even before you find the right publisher).
All this stress can make a writer wonder: why try and get published? It seems like a strange question, as oftentimes it seems like the end goal of writing is always publication in some form or fashion. However, not all writing is destined to be published, even if it is a polished piece with real significance to the author— there have been incredible works of literature and poetry and were never published during their authors’ lifetimes (Emily Dickinson comes to mind).
With that said, there’s also a reason why publication is (usually) the default goal of any writer. Despite all the stress that can come with submitting work, it can also be a very rewarding experience. So without further ado, here are three simple reasons why you should submit your writing!
1. People will read your work! Starting off with the obvious one, but it’s also probably the biggest draw to submitting work. Let’s be honest; even with the stereotype of introverted writers, most of us aren’t as reclusive as Emily Dickenson. If you want your writing to be read, pursuing publishing is the best way for your writing to reach the most amount of people.
2. It’s validating! This one might be a bit misleading— all writing, whether submitted or not, accepted or not, published or not— has value. My point is that, after you’ve submitted your work and have gone through a few rejections, seeing your piece published is a fantastic feeling that can serve as a confidence booster. You are often your own harshest critic when it comes to your writing (I know I am), so having your work accepted or even seeing it submitted can remind you that the hard work you put into your writing is worth it.
3. Honestly, what do you have to lose? I know, I know. We’ve already been over how stressful publishing can be. But at the end of the day, the worst thing that can come of submitting a piece is rejection. And in the case of rejection, you’re simply back where you started— if anything, you might even gain some insight into how your work can be improved! Yes, it can be hard to face rejection, but in reality it’s nothing more than a signal to keep writing!
Of course, these are fairly general reasons to pursue being published, but hopefully this short list encourages at least a few of you to submit your writing. If you’d like to learn more about choosing the right place to submit your work, be sure to check out Fall 2017 River editor Megan’s Writer’s Workshop article “The First Steps of Publishing: A Complete Breakdown of Looking for the Most Eligible Bachelor(ette)”! And of course, we hope that if you are looking for a place to submit that you’ll consider the River— we’re always looking for new submissions and would be thrilled to read your work.
Until next time, happy writing (and happy submitting)!