Share your writing before you publish

Not too long ago, I had the opportunity to speak to an audience about article pitching. One of the first things I said? Don't get ahead of yourself. Take the time to make your writing as good as it can be before you try to publish. 

It felt like a risky move. The room was full and people were taking so many notes... these were writers who want to publish. And yet. I know what happens when you try to publish too soon.

You get rejected. You never hear back. You self-publish and you're not that proud of your work. 

I've experienced this, and I've watched my clients experience it. It's normal, of course—the urge to publish is powerful, and can motivate you to act fast. But taking your time will be more effective.

I believe that when you change the way you think about writing, and you can change the way you write. In this 8-part series, I'm exploring the shifts that transformed my writing life into something more productive and more fulfilling. Want to follow along? Subscribe.

Shift #7: Share your writing before you try to publish.

My clients have taught me that part of the desire to publish comes from a desire to connect. To have an audience. To see your ideas and stories affect someone else.

You can actually have that before you publish. There are writing partners, writing groups, readings... Each one of them can help you connect and ensure that your writing is at its best when you seek publication.

I was reminded of this over the last couple of years. I started looking for ways (other than publication) to put my writing into the world.

I shared it with my writing partner. When I had the opportunity to do a public reading, I did. When I had the chance to get input from the editor of a respected literary magazine, I went for it. Each step felt vulnerable. I haven't been that nervous for a public presentation since I gave a speech in my college economics class (economics was not my strong suit). Waiting for the editor’s feedback, I counseled myself not to expect too much. This was about constructive input, not a pat on the back.

In the end, I got exactly what I try to give my clients: confirmation of where I was on the right track, and new tools to make my writing stronger.

I also made connections to literary publications, which made it easier to submit. And now I've had a short story published, received honorable mention in a contest, and when my work isn't accepted, I no longer get the form letter. I get thanked for submitting it, complimented on its quality, and encouraged to submit again. Slowing down actually sped things up.

So how about you? Have you been rushing on your journey to publication? Try this prompt to consider other options.

If you could get an outside perspective of your writing, what would you want to know about it?

Let us know what comes up on Facebook or in the comments below.

P.S. Ready for a writing breakthrough? Break free from writing rules that don't work and find your way with my FREE three-part series: Inside the Writers Mind. The first insight (and writing prompt) could be yours today.

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