I've been noticing that several members of my online critique group are writing toward a specific market. They're making an effort to write and submit. Keyword for today is submit. The majority of writers are aiming for publication.
The very first step after writing and editing is to submit. A simple little word, a process that anyone should be able to complete. Right? Maybe not.
It takes more than a little courage to expose your work to the eyes of others, whether it be a friend, a critique group, or an editor. It's human nature to strive for praise. We'd all love to hear nothing but positives about the words we've strung together in a story, article, essay or poem. By submitting what you've written, you set yourself up for failure. Not really, but that's the way our minds work at times.
Before you submit for publication, you need to get yourself in the proper frame of mind. Have a little chat with yourself. Do this in private or someone may call 911. Tell yourself that the only way you will ever see your work in print is to send it to an editor, or many editors. That you don't expect to have every single story you submit make it. That you'll keep the submision wheel turning. Remind yourself that the worst than can happen is that the first editor will reject your piece. Not a catastrophe. Every writer racks up rejections like beer cans at a frat party.
Many fine writers have reams of stories, or whatever it is they write, in their files or printed and placed reverently in a looseleaf binder. They're afraid to take that first step to market their work. It's a shame because many of these writers could be, would be, should be published if they only had the courage and confidence in themselves to submit those stories.
Notice the little meter at the top of this post--it says somethng important. You are in control. It's not me or your Aunt Susie or your husband/wife. It's you. I learned that from a man who was the moderator of the first critique group I joined, early in my writing years. His mantra was Send it in! Send it in! Send it in! I wrote an article about Tom and that group for the Long Ridge Writers Website several years ago. It details my own process of learning to submit my work. Read it before you have that little chat with yourself.
Ask yourself what you can do to gain the confidence it takes to show your work to others. You're not going to become a self-confident writer (or person) in one fell swoop. It's another of those step-at-a-time processes. If you do submit your writing and have an acceptance, or even an encouraging note from an editor, you'll move one step higher on the ladder.