1. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    How do you measure your progress?

    Discussion in 'Progress Journals' started by NaCl, Jul 17, 2008.

    How do you know when the time is "right" to submit your work for publication?

    Tough question, huh?

    I see a lot of good writers in this site who seem to struggle with self doubt. They question their work and seek "reviews" that invariably result in beneficial observations. But...when is enough, enough? How do you know you've finally developed to the point where you might consider submitting your work for publication?

    Try the contests!

    These are fun and judged by your peers. If you win, you can take some small satisfaction that your writing is improved to the point that others like what you've done. (BTW...if a bunch of critical writers like your work, you can rest assured general readers will too!) If you don't win, it is NOT a failure...quite the contrary...submission of a manuscript to potential publishers or agents is a daunting proposition. You can actually learn to deal with rejection by "surviving" these little contests. The big difference is, publishers and agents really don't give a damn about your feelings, but most of our peers in here respect you for trying.

    Contests are a great way to measure your progress as a writer. Try one soon!
     
  2. BillyxRansom
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    BillyxRansom Active Member

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    Here's a question for ya:

    How do you know which critical writers that like (or even hate) your work are the ones you should trust? They may be critical, but not all of them are going to have the right skills and know-how to craft a great story. Stories are all subjective, it's all about the market. If a critical writer is going to tell you your work is crap, that doesn't necessarily mean that the public will agree with that critical writer, true, BUT, if a critical writer happens to think that what you've written is genius, or what have you, how do you know you're still getting quality, accurate feedback?

    Just something I thought of, but I would love to hear your thoughts on it, too. Hopefully this question came out well, haha.

    -Billy
     
  3. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Billy,

    I won't speak for NaCl, but I have my own opinion on your question.

    Most writers are readers--with likes and dislikes, but they can usually tell a good story from a weak one, even if for example, it's not necessarily the genre they prefer to read. And often they can explain why in more specific terms as opposed to someone who simply reads.

    That being said, it is the job of the writer to sift through comments and suggestions and determine what makes sense to them, and to 'ignore' the rest. And it is true that some writers will consistently provide superior input as compared to others.

    One thing to watch for is if readers of a story make similar comments or suggestions for improvement (or where they got lost or didn't understand, etc.), especially if the comments are independent--the second commenter didn't read and piggyback on the first reader's comments--and a third followed suit.

    Why does one editor look at a story and reject it, while another will eagerly accept the same for publication? The particular market, current needs, and often just the taste of the editor and what he feels his readership will enjoy.

    Finally, what many readers early in their career need most is someone to read their work, and give honest, outside reviews. It's a task family and friends often cannot adequately fill.

    Terry
     
  4. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    Billy, I actually agree with you. One writer's treasure may be another's trash.

    Critique, or "review", is both objective and subjective. There is not much argument about SPAG and certain basic elements of plot development, but some assessments are based on subjective reactions to the piece. That is one of the reasons I will not attempt to review romance or slasher type stories. I don't like those genres and wonder if I could be objective.

    As far as contests...they are very different than "reviews". In reviews, a single critic might tear your work apart, but the isolated opinion of one person is only one "vote" out of many in a contest. If your work is chosen as the winner, then you have a chance to see how the work was received overall, in a "collective" public opinion, rather than the individual bias of one person. For that reason, I encourage more people to participate in the writing contests.
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    not for me... and i suspect not for most, if not all 'seasoned' writers... though it certainly can be for beginners...

    as for peer-judged contests, i would never recommend that as a way to decide whether a piece of work is ready to submit, or not... nor even as a way to learn if your work is 'good' or not, since other beginners are not always the best judge of quality, most not having achieved professional quality in their own work yet... no offense intended, just stating a fact of life...

    as a way to develop a thick skin, however, i agree that contests on writing sites can do that!
     
  6. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    I measure my "progress" in whether people are actually interested in reading what I write. Seeing as I'm not seeking publication like almost everyone else seems to be.
     
  7. SonnehLee
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    SonnehLee Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm with Tehuti. I write because I love it, not to get published. Maybe someday though.
     
  8. Flozzie
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    Flozzie Active Member

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    Like previous posters I don't write to get published. I do it because I simply love to write, and it gives me a sense of accomplishment.
    That said, there might come a time when I do decide to submit something for publication. I guess it would be something I feel strongly for, and something I really believe in.
     
  9. DrJoe
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    DrJoe Member

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    I write because I love it, like everyone else said, but having other people critique your work on a site like this is lovely because you know people are actually reading what you have written. Getting published would just be awesome, but I feel like a few years of refinement in the art of writing can't hurt me.
     
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