Biting the Bullet: to Submit or not to Submit?

You know how sometimes you’re on a roll, getting stuff done, thinking that there is a high likelihood that you may in fact be superhuman… When you suddenly realise you’ve forgotten to write your Monday blog post? Yeah, that just happened to me. I’m feeling pretty chuffed with myself for getting through some time-consuming chores this morning, so I won’t be too harsh on myself; besides, here’s the post!

I mentioned last week that I was in the process of working on a piece of speculative fiction, and I actually started writing this particular one as an entry into the The Screw Turn Flash Fiction Competition (deadline is tomorrow, so if you’ve got something under 1000 words ready to go, dive on in!). As per usual, my idea was fairly nebulous when I started out, but I quickly ended up with 1600 words: a tad frustrating when the word limit is 1000! They needed to be rewritten and whittled down, so over the past week, I did just that. I’ve ended up with an ok-looking piece which I recently sent out to some friends for their opinions (I’m also incredibly fortunate in that James has resigned himself to always having to read my stories prior to them going anywhere, and he bears this heavy burden manfully). Last night, after having finished the third edition of my story, I felt… uninspired by it. It’s ok. It’s an alright kind of short story, but it certainly doesn’t feel like anything special and usually, for me, I want to like something that I’m entering in a competition. It’s not brilliant, it’s just ok.

Because I’m not already paid up for this competition, I’m in a little bit of a different situation to the norm. If I chose not to enter anything at all in this comp, I’d merely be $10 better off, whereas in other situations, not entering a piece would mean I’d wasted the money I’d already paid to participate. And that sounds kind of good, because if I don’t like my story, I can simply choose not to submit it and save $10… Except I’d written it for this competition. Save $10. Quit sooking and submit. Save $10. Submit.

So that’s where I’ve been sitting since last night, firmly on the fence. To submit, or not to submit?

For those of you dying to know, I did decide to submit it. Maybe it’s not the best thing I’ll ever write, but perhaps it’s still good enough to see the light of day; and maybe sometimes it’s good to submit something you’re not quite sure of (perhaps I’ll surprise myself? Nevermind the fact that if it doesn’t do well, I’ll just put it up on here). I can’t help but feel that there’s no point pursuing these opportunities if I’m going to wimp out of it when the time comes to click the submit button. After all, it’s only $10. If you’re tossing and turning at night, trying to figure out whether to jump off the cliff and submit your work to a magazine, or enter a competition, do it! Join me in taking the plunge.

More chores beckon, so have a wonderful week everyone, and see you on Friday!

— Ana.


  1. Fantastic! I always figure that submitting isn’t about winning, it’s about smacking down the bastard Imposter Syndrome monster. Once I’ve sent something off, I forget about it and focus on the next thing. Life is too short to tip-toe around the swamps of rejection.

  2. Thank you for sharing this. I really appreciate this today because I am working on a submission piece for a Masters degree in Creative Writing at University College Cork and yesterday I was feeling rather deflated. You have lifted my spirits 🙂

    • Oh my gosh Irene, that’s so exciting! I can imagine that’s a challenging piece to put together, but I’m so glad I was able to help in some small way. If you’d ever like someone to proof read it for you, I’d love the chance to take a look at it! 🙂

  3. Well done on submitting – I’m pretty certain that none of us who are write are the best critics of our own work so there’s no harm in putting it out there. Also incredibly useful to have someone on hand to read all your work. Isn’t there some saying about the only bad story is the one that’s in a drawer at home? This was a timely reminder that I’ve got a piece that needs a final edit and to be submitted somewhere – I’m far too poor to stump up $10 for an entry but some free-to-submit place won’t know what hit them! Have a good week!

    • I agree: sometimes we just need some distance, and that’s the benefit of roping others in to read it. I know, I’m spoilt! Hell yes, get on that edit and submission 😀 (Agreed on the costs of competing: my savings are being slowly whittled away, and with no job to replenish it, it’s a bit sad some days!). Have a great week! 🙂

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