By: Marilyn L. Davis
We’re All Aspiring When We Write
“I would give them (aspiring writers) the oldest advice in the craft: Read and write. Read a lot. Read new authors and established ones, read people whose work is in the same vein as yours and those whose genre is totally different. You’ve heard of chain-smokers. Writers, especially beginners, need to be chain-readers. And lastly, write every day. Write about things that get under your skin and keep you up at night.”―
I enjoy seeing what words writers use in their profile on Twitter. There’s the usual:
- “Aspiring Writer”
- “Future Best Selling Author”
- “Novel Pending”
- “Wanna Be Writer”
Many of them even give us a word count for their WIP (work in progress). While it may seem obvious, if they are writing, they are a writer, and I often want to send them a direct message stating that they’ve gone beyond aspiring to a working writer if they’ve written and good for them.
Aspiring is to long for, wish, try to, and work towards, so why would I use it for all of us writers?
Because, with each post, we are trying to attract an audience, longing for the post to get attention, working towards an impressive volume of work, and wanting to overcome our fears with our choice of profession or passion.
Have You Submitted Anywhere?
Could it be that they’ve written but never submitted – possibly due to anxiety about rejection? All of us have been rejected, and it’s never fun; it’s discouraging and can often prevent a writer from submitting to a site that values their words.
What are some of the typical reasons that people don’t submit their guest posts?
- The readers on a particular site may not understand the writing style, tone, or voice.
- Fear that the grammar, syntax, or wording won’t make it past the editor.
- Remembering past rejections and staying trapped in those negative feelings.
- Spending too much time editing while writing and feel discouraged.
- Deadlines seem too imposing.
Rejection Doesn’t Mean the Writing is Bad
Other writers sent a guest post and got rejected, not because the writing was terrible, but because it wasn’t appropriate for the site.
For instance, we’re not a decorating, cooking, fashion site, so any post emphasizing those topics isn’t pertinent for a literary blog. When I get those, if the writing is worthwhile, I tend to use the sandwich method of rejecting. I’ll let the writer know that the writing was sound; however, it wasn’t what we were looking for, and then offer them some sites that might be more in line with their topic. This way, the rejection is placed or sandwiched between encouragement for their writing and telling them to try elsewhere.
It also leaves the door open for the writer to submit a post about how they improved their writing, describing their writing or blogging process or ways that they set their writing apart from mainstream posts-regardless of the topic.
Proofed, Polished Then Stashed Away
Our writer has now run it through Grammarly, Hemingway, Paperrater, or any of the online grammar checkers. They’ve shown it to trusted friends, revised, edited, and proofread the piece. But they don’t submit it rationalizing it needs to sit for a few days. While a few days to view it with fresh eyes is okay, too many posts and books just get stashed away or lost in documents, never to be read.
So what is holding them back from submitting – either as a guest post or query for a book?
“Any writing exposes writers to judgment about the quality of their work and their thought. ― Ralph Keyes, The Courage to Write: How Writers Transcend Fear
In my recovery circles, we talk about fears – a lot. Some of our definitions for fear are true for the writer who doesn’t submit as well. So what is FEAR?
You’ll know if you’re living in fear if you think:
- “I know they won’t like my submission.”
- “I’m not a published writer, so why should they consider my post?”
- “That topic is exhausted.”
- “My vocabulary isn’t strong enough to publish there.”
Unfortunately, those writers who think that way are succumbing to their irrational fears. They expect to be rejected, so they never submit.
Negative Messages Fueled by Fear
We also talk about:
- “They’ve got so many writers that they don’t need me.”
- “They seem only to have seasoned writers.”
- “They’ve got writers with Ph.D. after their name– no way can I submit.”
There is some truth in each of those sentences, but there are falsehoods in them, too. When fear grips us, we tend to only focus on the negative, so this writer comes away with, “They don’t need me, all they’ve got are seasoned writers, and Ph.D.’s.”
Yes, We Do Need You – the Working Writer
While it’s true that Two Drops of Ink does have seasoned writers with Ph.D’s, if that were the only criteria for writing here, it would turn into “Dissecting Dissertations, Dialogues, and Diatribes on the Improper Use of the Semi-colon” or some other name that you could only access if you knew, or cared to search, on Google Scholar.
That is not what we’re looking for in submissions.
That said, there are snippets of prose, poetry, and new ways of looking at problem-solving for writing and blogs that appear on social media written by 13-year-olds. I know this because my granddaughter is one of them.
I recently connected on Twitter with a 17-year-old Irish author – with four books published and two more on the way to the printer. Nothing aspiring about that; she’s a genuine working writer, yet even she labels herself as aspiring.
If You Write, You’re a Writer
Next time you want to label yourself a newbie, an aspiring, or a rookie writer, reconsider. While you’re reframing your concept, think about these:
- “A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.” — Richard Bach
- “I think new writers are too worried that it has all been said before. Sure it has, but not by you.”― Asha Dornfest
Overcome Your Fear?
The Next Hurdle is Submitting
Okay, you’ve worked on your fears, stopped the negative self-talk, proofed, polished and you’re ready to label yourself a writer. The next step is submitting for publication.
Then when you’re published, you can add, “I’m a published working writer” to descriptions of yourself.