Where will your writing end up?
I find it fascinating where my writing ends up.
Let me explain. Most writers, myself included, desire for our words to be read by others. Sure, some people write only for themselves and that’s fine. I would contend though that the majority of writers dream of having an audience for their words, preferably a large one. I like to know from my readers that I have written something that has intrigued, challenged, entertained, inspired or instructed them – not all at the same time , of course, though that would be great.
It always amazes me where my writing ends up being published. Sure, I’ve have had some small publishing successes. My stories, poems and articles have appeared in books, anthologies, magazines, newspapers and I’ve performed some of my poems in public too. One of my plays was featured on a national television programme. Last year one of my poems was set to music and performed at the ANZAC Day ceremonies in Belgium. Cool.
My latest publication success is intriguing. It’s always nice to be invited to submit something and that is what happened earlier this week. A simple little haiku I wrote some years ago has been published on the Ocean Portal site of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.
Why not head over there and have a look. They are celebrating National Poetry Week by inviting readers to submit their own poems celebrating their love of the ocean.
- Ocean Portal site – Your Ode to the Big Blue
- Smithsonian Museum of Natural History
- National Poetry Month
And if you are interested in reading some of my poetry, click here.
A few tales to tell
I recently had some publication success. Yay!
Every year the Creative Writing department of the university where I recently completed my MA (Tabor Adelaide) publishes an anthology of poetry, short plays and short stories. The contributors are all present or former students, and a few staff members also add to the eclectic mix of writing. This anthology was the 6th edition and the quality is extremely high. The competition to be included is making it harder to be included every year, so I was pleased to have a short story and a poem in the latest issue.
I’ve read all six editions and have enjoyed all of the stories. Many of the poems could easily have found a home in any of our most prestigious literary journals. In fact, two of our regular contributors, both former students, have had stories published in a leading journal in recent months. It speaks volumes for the standard of teaching at Tabor Adelaide, and says much for the talents being nurtured.
The anthology is called Tales from the Upper Room, reflecting the theological roots of Tabor Adelaide and a direct link to the upper room where Jesus and his disciples met to celebrate the last supper. The ‘upper room’ also refers to the fact that our writers’ groups meet in The Loft, the highest room in the university.
- Tales from the Upper Room – buy past editions of the anthology here.
- Tabor Adelaide – study creative writing through Tabor Adelaide (external students are also welcome)
Learn the craft of writing
Many would be writers fail before they start.
They fail because they have not learned the basics of the craft of writing. They assume that they can write a best seller on the basis of their ability to string together a few words. They have not done their apprenticeship in the craft of writing. Then they get upset because their manuscript gets rejected the first time they send it to a publisher.
Time for a reality check.
I read recently about a successful editor working for a large publishing company who stated that at least 80% of manuscripts fail in the first page or two and deserved to be rejected. That’s a staggering statistic. Novice writers are almost all rejected because they fail to study or understand the writing and publishing process.
This editor made some simple to follow observations:
- Follow the publisher’s guidelines to the letter. Most writers don’t bother to do this basic first step and so their manuscript will be rejected. That is the harsh reality whether they like it or not.
- Format the manuscript correctly. Presentation is everything. Most publishers have their own way they require a manuscript to be presented. Find out what that is and follow it.
- Check the grammar. A poor grasp of the English language, its structures, formalities and conventions will make it easy for the editor to reject a manuscript. If you lack confidence or knowledge in this area get someone to teach you – or find a book or course to help you.
- Check the spelling. Spelling mistakes can and must be avoided. Check every word, recheck and check again. When writing my current novel I’m on the 7th draft and I’m still finding typos.
- Check the punctuation. Again, check, double check and then some more. Get someone else to check the manuscript for you. Pay a professional copy-editor to check it for you. You will be amazed at how many simple errors can creep in under the radar.
In short – give yourself the best possible chance of having your manuscript accepted for publication.