New year! New decade! (jk, pedants, that’s next year)
Twenty. Twenty. Motherflippers.
You know what that means?*
- It means we all have perfect 20:20 vision now, that’s just the LAW – so throw away your sexy librarian glasses and stop squinting at the small print yay!
- We are now in the Roaring Twenties and must don flapper skirts and cut our hair and dance on the tables necking prohibition moonshine and listening to jazz while we experience a brief economic boom and spate of radical political uprisings before another world war and devastating financial crash, er, yay?
- #Submit2020 is upon us and it’s time to make a dedication towards your writing submissions for the year and smash your personal goals all the way to the moon.
*Only one of these things is (probably) true.
“But what, in the sweet name of Gaia,” you may ask, “is #Submit2020?”
Well, word-bunnies, it’s a simple little literary practice that’s about to change your life.
New Year’s Resolutions are generally a pile of wank, right? We set ourselves ridiculously high expectations or stupidly unattainable goals, and give up before January is done. Then comes the guilt, the failure, the doom, the gloom, the wailing, the keening, the tearing of hair and beating of breasts and we all feel utterly crap about everything.
#Submit2020 is different. Your only goal is to beat your previous personal best.
Specifically, that goal is to commit to submitting your writing and sending your work out into the world in 2020.
If you’ve never submitted anything before in your life then woohoo – your target is a big fat total of ONE.
If you submitted a handful of things last year, your target is a totally achievable SLIGHTLY LARGER handful of things.
Just one little sub.
It doesn’t matter how huge or tiny your goal is – your only competitor is yourself, and don’t we all love to beat past versions of ourselves? Yes we do. Screw past-you. 2020-you is gonna be magnificent.
“But, but, but, but… I’m scared of rejection / I have massive imposter syndrome / I don’t know where to start / my writing isn’t good enough yet / <incoherent screaming out of fear of the unknown>!”
Yes, we though you might say that. And here are our responses to each of those excuses:
I’M SCARED OF REJECTION!
Yep. Us too. It sucks. Actually, it doesn’t. And we’re not. Not any more. Because we’ve faced our fears and submitted our work and got rejected and GUESS WHAT we’re still alive and not in a puddle of writer-juice on the floor. EVERYONE gets rejected sometime. It’s part and parcel. But it’s how you respond to rejection that matters. And we’ve written A LOT about this subject, so take your pick:
- How to cope with the ughhhhh of rejection
- The various different types of rejection and how to deal with ’em
- Getting back on the literary horse and recovering from a knock-back when it comes to rejection
- Our treatise on the uselessness of fear of failure (and how to give fewer fucks)
- We also have a lovely little supportive community on our forums for rejection commiserations
I HAVE MASSIVE IMPOSTER SYNDROME!
SAME, dude, same. Everyone does. That’s how they keep us from achieving our true potential and taking over the world. But you can fight it. You can overcome it. You can become ironclad and fortified with resolve. But first, you must kick it in the genitals.
Next, do a little introspection into WHY you’re doubting your own abilities, and WHY we find writing so scary.
And finally, watch this and make your peace with The Gap:
I DON’T KNOW WHERE TO START!
Everyone’s gotta start somewhere, babycakes, so it might as well be here and now.
Got a novel to send out to agents? Check out our Publishing 101 series to help you rustle up a winning query, synopsis, and submissions package to find the agent of your dreeeeeeams.
Got some short fiction or poetry to submit to lit mags and competitions? Check out our mammoth monthly listings of writing contests and opportunities to find a perfect match. And whack your email in the sign up form at the bottom of this very blog to get a FREE copy of our guide to submitting to lit mags and writing competitions. ???
(You should also read this VITAL blog by our very own Alex Clark on Why Lit Mags Matter (and why writers need to read them). And maybe slightly less seriously, this blog about the 7 Stages of Literary Submission.)
And then… you just… DO IT.
Polish your work until it’s the best it can be. Read the guidelines at least twelve times. And submit. It really is as easy (and hard) as that…
MY WRITING ISN’T GOOD ENOUGH YET!
We suspect that’s the imposter syndrome/fear of failure talking, but ok hun. If you’re feeling like a wobbly Bambi then maybe it’s time you bolstered your confidence with a literary training montage. Oh, and, ahem, just look what we found here: a whole PLETHORA of online courses on writing short fiction, characterisation, writing a novel and pretty much everything you need to get your head (and your writing) in the game.
PLUS: This is exactly what our writing forums are for. Swap critique and feedback with our brilliant WHQ community, ask for advice and support, moan and vent, celebrate the little successes along the way, and share your writing journey with your fellow writers.
<INCOHERENT SCREAMING OUT OF THE FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN>
We feel you. We really do. Get it out of your system. It’s fine. That’s it. One more big one. Aaand we’re done.
You can do this. WE can do this. Let’s go.
How to submit the ever-loving-heck out of 2020:
STEP 1: Set yourself a challenge to beat your own personal best for submissions in 2020. That’s all. Beat your own previous subs total. Whatever that may be. It might be zero, in which case you’ve got a whole 12 months to submit ONE thing. If your target is much higher, then you might want to divide up your subs goals into X per month or week or whatever works for your brain. Remember to use our monthly listings to keep track of upcoming deadlines and get inspired.
STEP 2: Submit something. Like, that’s it. Then, if you still have more to go to hit your target, submit something else. If you don’t have enough things to submit, write something new. Magic.
STEP 3: Let us know how you’re getting on via our luverly private writing forums or by using the hashtag #Submit2020 on Twitter or in our Facebook group or at one of our writing retreats or wherever you get your WHQ fix.
Rinse. Repeat. Submit.
Good luck, brave writerly souls. We’re with you all the way. Now go make us proud.