Today I am very pleased to feature English blogger and writer, Cathy Cade.
Finding my Courage
There were a couple of reasons why I would have skimmed over Pete’s first call for guest posts, however attractive I found the prospect of reaching a wider audience. What on earth would I write about, for a start? I struggle to think of topics to post on my own blog.
Time would have been a factor too – isn’t it always? As well as formatting our writing group’s third anthology, I’m currently revisiting my ‘practice novel’. I have been known to tackle the ironing to avoid revisiting this novel.
But very little of my retirement wardrobe requires ironing, these days, which leaves me short of postponement strategies. And most of it boils down to simple cowardice.
I actually completed a first draft of the aforementioned practice novel before losing confidence and putting it aside in favour of short stories. Short stories are less scary and are quicker to produce and obtain feedback on. I could share them with online writing forums or a local writing group. However nerve-wracking it was to present my own work for feedback, I found critiquing others’ writing just as scary. But the sky didn’t fall.
Short stories can be submitted to competitions… some even free to enter. I sent off stories to competitions and most disappeared into the void. The world didn’t end.
Short stories can be sent off to magazines. The best of these gave helpful feedback when rejecting my stories. And the sun rose next morning.
I started a blog – the writing gurus all said I ought to, but I’d put it off. Who would be interested in my ramblings? What on earth would I blog about? (Still a challenge.) After my first tentative posts, I realised that the only one interested in who read my posts was me.
On publishing our writing group’s first anthology, nobody laughed at us for trying; the world didn’t end when it needed amending.
Eventually, one of my competition stories was shortlisted. Others were placed… and printed!
I reviewed my rejected magazine stories and sent them out to other magazines, both print and online. Some were accepted!
I followed other blogs and plucked up courage to comment. Some of the bloggers came to look at my blog.
We had the group’s anthology printed locally, sold them to our u3a members and went into a second print run. We published a second collection the following year. With one of our members producing our covers, all it cost us was the ISBNs, so I took the plunge to publish books of my own (on Amazon and Smashwords). The sky still hasn’t fallen.
If, like me, you have the courage of Oz’s Cowardly Lion, take heart. Most things in life become easier once you’ve taken that first scary step. Even guest blogging.
Here are some links where you can read more from Cathy, or buy her books.