Publishing on my blog gives me total control of my content, and I always feel a sense of satisfaction when I click the publish button and send my baby words out into the world. Submitting to a publication and receiving an acceptance email brings an entirely new sense of achievement though. I’ll post several opportunities for submission to publications and contests this quarter, and I highly recommend that you polish a piece of writing and submit at least once.
You might ask why you should go to all that work when you’ve got your own publish button right there under your fingertips. Here are a couple of reasons. First, self-publishing takes your ego only so far. Acceptance by a professional editor adds some validation to your work.
Second, it’s thrilling to see your work either in print or on someone else’s website, and thrill leads to inspiration leads to more and better writing on your part.
Third, too often I see bloggers who hit the publish button before a piece is really polished and ready for public consumption. Before you send a piece of writing to a stranger to judge, you will proofread it until your eyes bleed, and then you’ll ask a couple of friends, your mom, and, if you’re lucky, your teacher who is also a professional editor to take a look at it and give you feedback. In other words, you’ll take your writing to a higher level than you might when you’re publishing on your own blog. (Note: You should observe the same standards of excellence for all your published writing, but lots of bloggers who don’t.) It’s like the difference between practicing free throws and playing in the state basketball finals.
Fourth, you can reach a new and often much bigger audience. You might even drag some of them back to your
lair blog and turn them into regular readers.
Fifth, your mother will be so proud.
And finally, sometimes you get paid. ‘Nuff said about that. Money has spoken.
Here’s my first recommendation, and I’ll admit you’d be aiming high. Creative Nonfiction magazine is taking topical submissions for the next several issues. You can find them on their submissions page. If you decide you want to shoot for the moon, make sure you read the submission requirements carefully. Editors kick submissions out without even reading them if the authors didn’t follow the guidelines.
Before you submit, I also recommend you go to the website and read a few pieces they’ve published to get an idea of whether your writing would fit with their publication or not.
Finally, let me know if you do submit. I’ll give extra credit for submissions to outside publications as long as you’ve made the effort to polish and perfect your piece.