Summer Writing Adventures

In January, I decided to create some writing goals for myself because I needed them desperately. My writing life had grown stagnant. That doesn’t mean that pen wasn’t meeting paper/fingers weren’t meeting keyboard. Just that I was still sitting in the same place that I had been since middle school. No, I take that back. At least then, the only thing holding me back was lack of experience.

As of January 2014, my recent track record for entering writing contests was participating in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award in 2013, submitting a poems to literary magazines throughout college, and being selected in a poetry contest during my senior year in college. That was it. Pretty lame if my very determined twelve-year-old self knew about it since she hoped to be a published author by sixteen. Perhaps this is just one of the pitfalls of a phlegmatic-melancholy personality: I have drive but either perfectionism or laziness tend to stifle me.

But this year, things have changed. My writing dreams aren’t going to fall into my lap, so instead of sitting back with crossed arms, observing the playing field and wondering when and how I should hop in, I’ve decided to just go for it.

I’ve already entered four submissions of some kind this year, three in the last month alone. Two were rejected (including this year’s Amazon’s Breakout Novel Award, but it feels good to even be rejected because it means that I’ve tried something), and two are pending. And there are at least two other upcoming contests that I have in my sites, with many more to come. (Yes, I’ll be sure to mention how they go.)

And as I’ve tried to accomplish my goal of researching publishing options for my short story, I’ve instead learned more about the industry (which is much more complex than when I originally researched it in high school). I’m still not sure what to do with the short story: it’s too long for most magazines, too short for most of the traditional publishers I’ve looked at, or otherwise doesn’t meet submission guidelines. I need to learn more about self-publishing. It’s not even in my usual genre since it’s historical fiction instead of fantasy (but I needed to write it; you’ll see why soon, I hope). But that hasn’t bothered me since I finally feel like I’m starting to understand how the game works and that I can make educated decisions about what roads I want to take.

So, six months after making my goals, I might not have anything published to my name yet (which I was secretly hoping for), but I have accomplished more than I have in a very long time.

How are your writing goals going this summer?


9 responses to “Summer Writing Adventures

  • Colleen

    Congratulations on all the rejections!!! Remember that is how many a great writer began! Keep plugging away! You will get there!

  • Anthony Lee Collins

    I think it’s very good to start to put some things out there. And self-publishing can be a good option, particularly for works which, for whatever reason, don’t fit the current expectations of the industry.

    If you do self-publish, would you just do an e-book, or hard copy as well? (There is nothing like having a tangible book of your own, by the way — I’m just saying… :-) )

    I look forward to hearing how it goes with the upcoming contests.

    • S.B. Roberts

      That’s what I keep reading, too. I’ve been afraid that making a wrong first step might mess up my entire writing career, but it doesn’t really seem to be that way. It’s just a matter of getting out there and trying things.

      I would definitely do an e-book and hard copy if I end up self-publishing something. With how much I love the way that books feel, it’s definitely a must. Besides, I have a spot waiting in my library cabinet. : )

  • C.B. Wentworth

    Writing is an adventure, isn’t it. I’ve collected quite a few rejections as well, but I love how you look at them as proof that you’ve done something. I’m proud of mine, too. They are glowing reminders that I am not afraid to put my writing out there. :-)

    • S.B. Roberts

      It definitely is. :) That was one of the best pieces of advice that I learned in college. Rejections are, as you said, just glowing reminders that you’re not afraid to put your work out there. Besides, who knows when that acceptance letter might finally come?

  • hannahgivens

    Congratulations! It’s awesome that you’re submitting. I was totally going to be published by sixteen too, but I think it’s better for all of us that it didn’t happen, I was not good at sixteen. :)

    I’ve written a lot so far this year and it’s better than anything I’ve written before. I also wanted to be writing short stories though, essentially for practice and improvement while I work on the novel, and I haven’t done much of that. Hoping to do one or two this year, mainly this summer, because I’ve got my senior research paper to worry about…

    • S.B. Roberts

      I wasn’t good at sixteen either. Most of it really makes me cringe. :)

      Of course, the great thing is that those awkward stages of beginning the writing process eventually give way to the better writing that you actually still like after a year or two.

      Best of luck on your novel, the short stories, and the upcoming research paper!

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