Friday has come, and Friday has gone, but I DID IT!! I made my deadline, created my submission account on Writer’s Digest, and submitted my short story. My first piece that is going to be read by someone I’ve never met. Pretty daunting when I think about it that way. Pretty exciting too.
I’ve spent the last few days since I hit submit thinking about the process and wondering what I’ve learned that will make this easier in the future. To be perfectly honest, the online submission process itself (creating an account, verifying file formats, submitting) was the easiest part – Writer’s Digest has certainly made their online process streamlined and incredibly user friendly. You get an email receipt as confirmation. I am not sure about the mail submission process; if someone has ever gone through the steps to mail in their submission I’d love to hear about it.
Everything else? The outlining, planning, writing, and editing? I’ve talked about all of that over the last few weeks as I’ve agonized over getting ready for this contest. One thing to note here, I’ve always hated the idea of planning my story out, the whole process of outlining has always made me feel overwhelmed. This is often because I start with a sentence or conversation in my head and work my way out from there, an outline – I’ve always thought – limited my ability to do that. This experience has shown me that I can merge the two methods together – outline my overarching story and then begin writing with the lines or conversation pieces that occur to me. I have to say that doing it this way is what made all the difference to me actually finishing the piece.
Now that I’ve learned a bit more about my outlining style I’ve become an insane person – I have ten pages in my notebook with brightly colored post-its to scribble down notes and ideas for scenes or locations. The bright colors and the clean notes make me happy when I sit down to work on my research and outlining, instead of making me dread the process, and I think that’s going to make a huge difference going forward in November for NaNoWriMo.
The last several weeks has been a rewarding learning experience. I’ve discovered new ways to work with outlines, learned that editing isn’t nearly as bad as I was afraid it would be, and discovered that I can complete something when I set goals.
Do you have other ways that help you with your writing process? I’d love to hear about them in the comments or feel free to contact me directly through the contact page or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org