“Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.”
image by Binlid at imcool.co.uk
I’m not good at asking for help, but I’ve reached a point in my writing where I can’t move forward without it.
Apart from an LSJ course on Writing for Children (which was excellent), no one has ever critiqued my work. I don’t belong to a writers’ group and I don’t have critique partners, but I also don’t have a completed manuscript, so to be fair, I was concentrating my efforts on that.
Here’s the problem: for the last few weeks I’ve been posting short flash fiction stories to the Writer Unboxed site for their summer competition. This was a big step, no one apart from the tutor at LSJ had ever read my work. And I had ‘beginners luck’ I think, as the first posting got an honourable mention, but the thing is, I’ve been posting every week since then, and I’m just not getting any better, or even equalling that first success, and I don’t know why.
My goal is to write novels, and I appreciate that short stories (and you don’t get much shorter than flash fiction) are a different medium entirely. But I should still be able to see where I’m going wrong.
Maybe I’m bad at editing – when I read the stories over, I don’t know what’s missing, but I’m clearly not connecting with the readers or the judges. If anything, I’m getting less ‘likes’ each week I enter.
There are a couple of my stories that I don’t like myself, in retrospect, but others I still do. And this isn’t about wanting to win the competition, it’s about spotting a problem and just not knowing how to fix it.
And then I thought about an episode of The Big Bang Theory I’d seen, where Sheldon quoted Einstein’s definition of insanity. Click here for a clip from the same episode, but not the actual quote, which is so good, you’re getting it again –
I don’t want to be that person, it strikes me as such a huge waste of time, (I barely have enough of that as it is!), so I need to ask for help.
I’ve decided to reach out to a couple of other bloggers and see if they know of any competitions or other online forums where I can submit work and where feedback is encouraged.
I’ll let you know how I get on.
And if you’re aware of any such places out on the Web, could you let me know?