The Canadian Writers' Collective

Writing, and writerly tangents

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Results, please...

By Antonios Maltezos

I’ve got issues with time and how it tends to slip away. If I look back on my life, there are long stretches where I did everything but write -- days, weeks, months, when I just wasn’t interested. I was, of course, but the writing was always something I could pick up later. Next month, I’m getting back to that story, type of thing, or maybe the month after the next. I’d even wait for the seasons to change because there was just too much stuff to do in the spring and summer. It wasn’t until I committed, after a couple years of submitting like crazy, learning about e-zines, as I neared my forties, that I realized I would have to treat the hours, the days, the months, the years to come, as something precious, to be organized. I’d have to start calculating. And I have been. There are stages to complete, other levels to attain. A few months back, I started submitting to contests. Most people do that to win some recognition, some prize money. I did that so I could slow down the machinery a bit, tie up my favorite stories by obligating them to this or that contest. Suddenly, it was okay to just let them sit, something I wasn’t able to do before. Besides the occasional drunken submission, which does happen, I’d spend the next few months editing, keeping a close eye on the deadlines, any upcoming contests. I’d have seen this as a waste of time, in the past, and probably moved on to something else after the first couple of failures to place. Not anymore. Submitting to contests is a great way to challenge myself as a writer. It means I have faith in my commitment. I can afford to slow down and perfect my craft without worrying that my focus will shift to something else. I’m busy, here, in training, in preparation for the next stage, when I can sit with my novel for months at a time, forgetting what it was like keeping a damn submissions log.


Blogger Anne C. said...

I have yet to make a drunken submission. Do you recommend it?

Thu May 10, 10:17:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger Antonios Maltezos said...


Thu May 10, 01:43:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Anne C. said...

Say no more.

Thu May 10, 02:01:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Tricia Dower said...

Boy, this speaks to me. Waiting for the mailman every day, checking my e-mail obsessively for that elusive acceptance. Entering contests is an interesting strategy to force some patience on yourself. I enter the occasional one but I resent the entry fees.

Thu May 10, 03:14:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Andrew Tibbetts said...

I've done a drunken submission. I sent McSweeney's my writing journal. At the time, it seemed brilliant and I was sure they'd think so too. It was a lot of rambling about how to make a gay hardy boys novel. It pains me to think about it now.

Electronic submissions are too easy.

Thu May 10, 04:00:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger tamara said...

Drunken submissions. I'm so glad I never thought of that before. I too resent the contest entry fees, but I like your strategy, Tony. It makes sense, and all my favourite litmag subscriptions seem to be running, so it won't be a total loss ;)

Thu May 10, 04:19:00 pm GMT-4  

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