Last December I entered a short short competition. I wrote Mission: Submission about my feelings about taking the plunge and finally letting people who aren’t related to me or close friends read something I’ve written.
Reading back that blog entry I can still remember how nervous I felt when I clicked on the ‘submit’ button on the website. And part of me was all glad it was done. I felt like I was ticking a box. Once it was done, it wouldn’t be hanging over me. Once it was done, I could do it again because it wasn’t as terrifying as I thought it would be.
If I didn’t win or get shortlisted in this competition it didn’t matter, even though I was proud of what I wrote. The most important thing was being brave enough to try and see what happened. The more I write, the more I realise a creative life is about bravery: being brave enough to try; being brave enough to share something you’ve invested time and effort into; being brave enough to open yourself up to be judged.
The organisers of the competition sent me a link to a webinar to hear the results announced live. Obviously, I chose not to join because I didn’t think I would be in with a shout. I received an email shortly after the webinar to congratulate me because my story had be shortlisted. Gobsmacked is an understatement. I was so excited I didn’t even sleep that night!
Having my first fiction piece published is an incredible feeling. The anthology won’t be published until later in the year but, as I’ve waited for this long to get something published, I can wait another few months.
Getting this news has spurred me on to write more. I don’t like to use the word validation but it does feel like a validation of what I’m working on and a reminder about the progress I’m making.
The strange thing about re-reading my submission was knowing I can write better than this. In the time between Decemember, when I submitted it, and receiving my good news, I feel like my writing has improved a huge amount and I hope to keep improving.
I have since submitted to another short story to a competition and short piece to a website. The waiting-to-hear-how-I-got-on is one of the worst things about writing. It takes an age to hear anything back. Luckily I have other projects on the go to keep me occupied in the meantime!