Yesterday, a writer friend wrote to me of a dilemma she was dealing with. She'd written a short story that would be perfect for a literary journal, but she'd decided to send it to a contest instead. She wanted it to be as clean of minor errors and clear to the reader as possible, so she subbed it to her critique group. After all their suggestions, she rewrote and resubbed it. One more question was sent to the critiquers and finally, the story was to her satisfaction and ready to go. Click, click, click and off it went. But to her horror, once it was done, she realized she had not sent the final version, Instead, one of the earlier versions was submitted to the contest. What to do? My friend decided it was water over the dam and she'd send the final version of the story to a literary magazine later on.
I have another dilemma, but it's not nearly as dire as my friend's dealing with. I'm getting poetry and prose ready to send to our annual state authors contest. I have a haiku I'd like to send, but I don't know whether to submit to the Haiku category or Whimsy, as it could fit either one. I've been mulling it over for days and I keep changing my mind as to where it will go. Once, I even thought of submitting it to both categories. Somehow, I don't think that would be allowed or wise. What if it won in both categories? (How's that for confidence?) I have a couple more weeks to decide.
Writing is far more than just putting words on paper. Dilemmas like the two examples come up all the time, and we can do nothing but follow our instincts and hope for the best. But do take time to look at the situation from all angles. Don't make a hasty decision that you might regret later on.