Is The Writer Ready?

writer-605764_1280I’ve been writing for a while now. Outside of this blog, little of the writing I have done has reached any audience. I’ve just been putting words on the page. This writing practice has been good for me.

The only publishing I have done is through this blog, which means I have complete control over the content of each page. This control can be good and bad.

Writing and publishing blog posts is a good way to gain experience in putting my work “out there” for the world to see. Well, at least my little corner of it anyway. My anxiety about having others read my work is much lower than it has been.

Or, at least I thought it was.

I have a bunch of stories that I’ve written in the past several months, some are good and some not so much. I have thought a few of the stories could be publishable with a bit of work. However, I seldom go back and do that work. I have a pile of unfinished work which for the most part I am content to let be.

The issue is that I want to be a writer who is published. I do mean published in an actual place, not just my blog. In order to be published, I truly must send out my work and therein lies the problem.

I have little experience sending out work. I’ve sent some things out and have gotten rejections on all of it, deservedly so. Writing is one of those things that seems to need to “percolate” in order to reach that required level of doneness for the world to see. While some were good, I haven’t felt the stories were ready to be sent out.

Perhaps the writing isn’t the only issue. Perhaps the other question we need to ask is: Is the writer ready?

Recently I’ve been working with Katey Schultz, of Writer@Large on my flash fiction stories. Katey writes flash fiction among other things. Her book Flashes of War, a Military Writers Society of America 2013 Book of the Year, is a fantastic read.

For the month of July, each week has brought a new prompt with some fabulous feedback. I’ve enjoyed the experience of going outside my comfort zone with my writing.

This week, when I received my feedback from Katey I read what every writer wants to hear: “with a few changes this is ready to be sent out.” Thank you, Katey.

I appreciated these words because every writer needs the affirmations. However, these words have had unintended consequences; my anxiety has risen nearly to the point of paralysis.

I seem to have a block when it comes to the idea of sending my work out. I have gone so far as to begin looking for a market, but I haven’t completed the edits. The edits must be completed before I can do anything.

There is so much information out there about sending work in one hardly knows where to begin.

I don’t just send my work out. I like to take my time and do research. It doesn’t matter what topic I am discussing, my first step is to learn what I can about something. This is also my downfall. I can spend so much time reading that I never stop and do whatever it is I am learning about.

It’s time.

My goal is to send this piece out within a month. Please feel free to drop me a line to check up on this goal. Without accountability, I may never reach this one.

I am ready.

Success

S

How do we measure success?

Making money?

Publishing that book?

Getting that promotion?

All of these are measures of success but are they good ones? I believe that each  of us must decide what success looks like to us.

In the past year I’ve made some changes in my life. I did get a promotion at my day job and discovered another world that I am still learning to navigate. Then I returned to my writing roots and have lit a fire. Finding a balance between the two has been incredibly difficult especially given the measures for success I’ve decided upon.

Success means several things to me:

1.  Being published.

2.  Making a living as a writer.

3.  Making my life work regardless of the path I am on.

I am still working on the how but the plan is in place. Each days writing is one step closer to finding this success.

My definition of success may, and most likely will, change over time. Going with the flow has become my new motto though I struggle with it at times. It has helped as I work toward my goals to achieve my success.

Another thing that has helped is a process called visualization. This is where you see yourself going through the steps toward your ultimate goal. Successful people use it including athletes, entertainers and anyone who wants to reach for something higher.

Believing in myself is just the first step.

How do you define success? Have you envisioned your success?