We writers are surrounded by inspiration in all areas of our lives.
Everyday scenarios and moments provide us with a spark that could turn into a story; a few notes that lay buried in a notebook until rediscovered and worked into a current piece of writing, or expanded upon and turned into a story in their own right.
There are various ways of having your work critiqued. Most of the really useful ones you will have to pay for.
The important thing to remember is that a critique will be constructive and given positively. Writers want other writers to do well and negative criticism is a great way of putting people off. If you take the advice negatively you probably need to examine your reasons for writing in the first place.
Taking constructive criticism is not easy, but if you take note of the suggestions made you will see clear improvements to your writing.
You may not have the confidence to enter the most prodigious competitions with the most sought-after prizes, but you can always try your hand at the smaller ones. You never know, you might just win some prize money and get your story published.
Why should I enter?
Because people will read your stories. Because you will get noticed – more than if you do nothing with your stories. Because you might win some prize money. And because being shortlisted or winning is a great confidence booster.
Try entering smaller competitions first and see how you get on. You can always enter larger ones with the bigger prize money as your confidence grows. Or just go straight for the top if you think you’re good enough.
There’s only one way to find out whether anyone thinks your work is publishable. Send it to a publisher! That story hidden away on your computer or buried under a pile of papers won’t get anywhere if it stays there unseen.
While different publishers might have different standards you can guarantee they will want the best. If your work isn’t quite up to scratch (and sometimes you have to accept it might not be) they will tell you. You are unlikely to get feedback for your submission but you can never tell. That will be up to the individual publisher.
For a publisher it’s about sales; they want good work that is likely to sell. And selling is what you will want your work to do as well. You do want people to read your story, don’t you?
You can always self-publish but how do you know it’s good enough to put out there in the public domain?