There are a few things I have learnt since I have started on a concerted effort to recover from losing my publisher (and as a resultant delay in entering competitions, pitching to bigger publications, and finding a decent non-time wasting publisher). I have learnt that almost everybody wants to be a writer. There is a huge amount of talent out there, and if you want to attract attention, you have to be productive and also assertive. If you don’t pitch, you don’t get the recognition…or publication.
I have learnt that submitting to competitions can be an expensive process, but unavoidable. Some competitions for larger publications cost between $20 to $30! I set aside a budget and chose which of them suited my writing the most. For some it meant writing original material, especially for the remit of the competition, for others it involved a lot of polishing of material and collating into the correct format.
In short, just as struggling new bands have to play a lot of gigs to get noticed, writers are no different. Each new gig, every new piece is like an audition. The competition is fierce and only a very few ever progress into a productive and lucrative career in writing.
There is, of course, space for people who write journalistic stories about their specialisms. Some writers have their ‘thing’ which they are knowledgeable about, and write extensively on. Others of us are not happy unless we are allowed to pursue more creative avenues at least part of the time. For me it is poetry and short stories which have become my passion.
It was a hard and big jump to write things that would never go up on my beloved blog, but to be frank, my audience here is minimal, and the material is all free. I am grateful for my wonderful Patreon supporters, but there is nowhere near enough profit to be made for me to be able to continue writing solely for my own publication. I have projects that I would love to share here, but the drive for unpublished original material requires I keep it for other outlets. That is a shame. I love this blog. I have honed my writing abilities, and it got me into good habits writing.
In the early days I wrote to get into the swing of it, often with people complaining about how often I posted on my own blog! Nowadays my writing time has to be shared with for-pay outlets, or at least projects which might get my writing noticed and to a wider audience.
There are numerous website which collate writing competitions, and even in print publications which are widely available. I take a highlighter and choose a short list of which ones I am going to enter, and then order in terms of urgency in closing dates. I have actually been more adventurous and led to write some unusual things for these competitions, and would recommend trying it. After all a wider repertoire is a good thing for any artist. Submittable website is a good place to start looking for opportunities, and I thoroughly recommend setting up a free account there.
Happy writing to my fellow writers, poets and story-tellers! Keep on writing, keep on creating, and pushing to get noticed!