Writing Woes

Writing Woes2

4:00 pm (Fri)

It’s been a long week — a week of writing woes, knots and bolts, a few headaches and small triumphs. But I won’t tell you the half of it. I’ll sum it up neatly and hope I do it justice. For the past week I’ve been working on meeting deadlines — those dreaded deadlines. I had one writing competition and an e-zine submission. Only one worked out. Perhaps it’s all for the better.

The first deadline was an online publication opportunity for children’s literature. There was also was a writing competition organised by the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) but only one story. At least only one story I thought was ready to meet the scrutiny of wary eyes.

So for most of the week I juggled thoughts, trying to figure out where to send my Anancy story. Who would appreciate my story more? Which option was my best bet?

The e-zine felt like a more viable option. I’d seen their publications. The stories were usually on par with my kind of work. But there was one problem, the illustrations.

I would most likely need an illustrator to create a few pictures. But where would I get an illustrator and how would I pay? Like most aspiring artists, my pocket was a wasteland. I needed a solution fast. Perhaps some philanthropic artist would feel my plight and volunteer to help? Perhaps a miracle would happen and I’d get some money fast. Perhaps the e-zine would extend the deadline, giving me more than a few days to summon a miracle.

When last Friday came I finally admitted to myself the obvious. I wouldn’t meet the deadline. The story was ready but why go through all the trouble of getting an illustrator I couldn’t afford?A careful perusal of the e-zine’s submission also revealed I didn’t meet the requirements in terms of the theme. They wanted a story based on landscape and mine focused more on characters than the setting. So I didn’t submit the story.

As it turns out, the manager for the e-zine recently posted that a year’s hiatus was in short order because to be frank, the submissions weren’t very good. I was disappointed but at the same time relieved. Thank God I wasn’t one of writers who’d submitted work. My goodness, I’d feel worse if my story was in the not-so-good batch of submissions.

My co-worker thought that was silly. Probably my story would have resurrected their lost hopes… Probably my story would have saved the publication from a too-long hiatus. I left him to his wild imaginings.

It just wasn’t my time. Better luck next year.

Since I couldn’t just leave my story sitting in the closet of undiscovered thoughts and perhaps talents, I thought it best to submit it to the JCDC on Wednesday. As I sat before the administrator who was collecting the story, I finally took a glimpse at the submission details. Short stories should be 3500-3000 words.

My story was a bit below the word count, I confessed. She smiled and said, “Do you think you could extend it?” Sigh. I’m not like one of those writers who could conjure up thousands of words in an hour — perfect words that looked good on paper and sounded even better when read. It wasn’t gonna happen but I submitted the story anyway. Hopefully the judges focus more on the story than the stipulated word count.

This journey has it’s challenges but I feel like it’s okay to have these struggles. Won’t it be far better in the end when I publish my books and hone my craft in the process?

Conflicts are the heart of every good story. I hope the challenges will keep on coming. There are lessons to be learnt.



11 thoughts on “Writing Woes”

    1. Thanks for the encouragement. My weekend was great actually. I discovered a book sale. Felt great after buying 6 books for only about 30% of the original value. Nothing like a great sale to keep one’s spirit up 🙂


  1. Your co-worker made a really good point – don’t be so quick to disbelieve.

    As for JCDC, you may be disqualified from awards on the technical point of word count but I’m holding out hope for you getting an honorable mention. *crossing fingers*


  2. Hang in there my dear. I also, am a writer. I look 4ward to signing a nice book deal one of these days. I have faith that if I just persevere, it will happen. That’s my story & I’m sticking 2 it.


    1. I hope you do. They always say that things that are worthwhile require perseverance. So keep the faith and let me know when you get that book deal!!! What type of writing do you do, fiction, non-fiction, poetry, plays…


Comments are closed.