August IWSG: Pitfalls

The Insecure Writers Support Group is brought to you by founder Alex J Cavanaugh. This month Alex has the help of these co-hosts: Erika Beebe, Sandra Hoover, Susan Gourley, and Lee Lowery! Sign up here at the IWSG website.

Question of the month is (if you chose to use it): What pitfalls would you warn other writers to avoid on their publication journey? 

When I read the question, the word pitfalls stood out.

I’ve not been published since the mid 1980’s (for pay), but it could be due to that I’m not submitting my short stories. Wait, I've made a buck or two on my self-published book. So there is that. Submitting your work is important. 

But what pitfalls? 

Two things come to mind:

1. Not Submitting

You will not be published unless you write (and finish), polish (by editing) and submit your story to market(s). Then rinse and repeat. 

I read recently that you need to get your work out there IF your goal is to be published. Well duh, that's not a surprise. If you want your stories (or any craft that you love to do) to only be seen by you then fine, keep it hidden. If you want others to read your work, then first believe in what you produce. Write and finish. Polish. Submit.


2. Judging

Whatever we "do" in life will probably be judged by someone. Those judges could be trolls (internet idiots) or reviewers (with negative and positive critiques), but someone will judge your work (and maybe you as a person). Be ready for this! There will be people who will judge your craft with admiration, but someone else might rip you and your work to the hills and back. 

Do you paint canvases of beauty? Someone will judge your work. Do you build furniture? Someone will judge your pieces. You say that you write poetry? Take photographs? SOMEONE will judge what you produce.

It’s a fact of life and it’s okay. You might even learn something in this painful process.

You’ve heard the saying, no pain, no gain? You can closet your work and feel safe from what others will say, but I promise there will be at least one person out there that will recognize the beauty of your craft and be entertained. This, my friends, is satisfying. Yes, someone might gift you with their opinion! Maybe it will be a happy day of love and admiration or it might be critical and cut your very soul. Do not lose heart as you walk through this confusion of love and hate concerning your masterpiece. Instead, focus on your craft because stories must be told.

Push aside your fears and write, finish, polish and submit your craft. Submit I tell you! 



  1. It must take incredible courage, and fortitude.
    This reader thanks you all.

  2. Everything is judged. Just expect it. And for all the negative judgment, there will be positive as well.

  3. The judging part is a challenge for writers. We'd so much prefer being adored. :-) But you're right, there will be some people who do "get" you, and they're worth all the angst.

  4. I'm working on these! I have written a lot of stories but have submitted very few and very rarely. I get so caught up in the "oh I've learned something new. I have to write so I can apply it" circle. Working on getting braver!

  5. Great advice, Teresa! I really enjoyed your post!

  6. Great post! Being judged can be intimidating for sure. I think you have to take it at face value, use any criticism to better your work, and let the rest go.

    Have a great week!

  7. Excellent words of advice. We have to submit and keep on submitting. And it's important that we all know and come to terms with (in some way) that our work will be judged.

  8. Yep, no matter what is done, even just walking on the street, someone will judge you.

  9. Beautifully said and something I needed to hear! Thank you so much for sharing!

  10. So true! I love that you point out that if you don't submit, or even share, you'll never move forward in the goal to be published. I have a dear friend who is about to publish her first book. She's terrified, but she's so talented, and I'm proud of her! Take your dream by the horns and hold on! The good, the bad, the ugly of judging is all part of the process.

  11. My first visit to your blog. Interesting advice clearly presented, but I'm left wondering what your book is about and why you haven't published . . . Would your blog be considered a form of writing? I really like your blog name @ journaling woman. As an OTA writer (older than average), I don't care so much about trolls (if I can learn something from them), and I don't care so much about publishing in the traditional sense (self-published pretty much all the way). I do love the whole process of exploring a story and telling it as best I can. We all do judge, assess, evaluate, and hopefully, as you suggest, keep right on learning!

  12. I said the same thing about judging. It's life, eh?

  13. Anyone can quit, but you and I are not just anyone, are we? It can help to read the early criticisms of artists like Leonardo, Dali, Grandma Moses or writers like Hemingway, Faulkner, Koontz, or King. We stay the course or run aground on the critics we choose to believe. Love this post. :-)

  14. I qualify as a big non-submitter. I don't think I've tried to get anything published since the seventies. If my dreams counted as success then I'd be a star.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

  15. Good advice given which I shall remember.



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