How Writing for Publications Has Turned Me into a More Patient Writer
Writing for publications has mostly been a blessing. It allows me to find my audience more easily, and it gives my writing more exposure. I even get feedback from some amazing editors when I would otherwise just blindly ship out my writing, counting on nothing but my own biased opinion of it.
I began submitting to publications on my very first week on Medium, and the experience has been very rewarding on many levels.
However, I’m selective with the publications I write for — and I attribute a lot of my success to that selectiveness.
I don’t look for a follower count, but I prioritize publications that focus on the same topics I also care about: relationships, love, self improvement, writing, and more.
I also like to write for publications where I get most of my reading from. If I usually enjoy their content, and if I like and respect the writers they publish, then of course I want to be part of the group.
Writing for publications, however, comes with a price: the loss of control over if and when my stories will be published.
When writing for publications, all I can do is submit and wait and hope.
Submit a piece I deem good enough and ready to go public.
Wait for the editors to get to it.
Hope that they’ll accept it with only minor edits. (I’ve had stories picked apart or even rejected, which is never fun, but still very helpful as it forces me to reevaluate my writing and try to do better next time.)
This process has taught me not only how to write better, but how to be more a more patient writer.
Waiting up to 5 days for your story to be published by a publication isn’t fun, but the satisfaction of being part of a broader community of writers that I admire, the chance to get my work viewed by a broader audience and the knowledge that it’s been approved and deemed worthy by the editors is completely worth the wait.
I have had weeks in which I had 5 stories up in the air, distributed to several publications and awaiting approval. Not knowing which would come out first was borderline nerve-wracking.
I usually don’t like to have more than one story come out the same day, but when submitting to different publications, that’s always a risk.
I had to learn how to take a breath and let go.
I had to learn how to stop refreshing my browser every five minutes and let go of checking my stats.
I had to learn how to let my work just be, and bring the results it will when it does.
This whole experience has taught me that I can’t be hung up in every piece of writing I produce. Every time I set something out into the world without much expectation, the results always surprise me; and learning to hit submit and let go of the expectations was the biggest lesson I learned writing for publications.
Well, that I’m still learning. After all, I’m not perfect.
I still hit refresh a lot.