Write Life Saturday: Ampersand Project and Putting Yourself Out There

I submitted my manuscript Mutual Weirdness to the Ampersand Project two days ago. 

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The project is for unpublished YA writers (like me) from Australia, and is part of Hardie Grant Egmont. Basically I’m terrified

But I also think it’s tremendously important to submit your work – otherwise, what’s the point? Before I talk about the importance of putting yourself out there, though, here’s a bit more about Mutual Weirdness: 

Genre: YA contemporary

Length: 68k

(and actually, the first draft was 75k so my rewrites have been good at shaving off unnecessary words)

Two sentence pitch: 

When James tells Jess to stop being weird, the last thing she needs is Mike, who collects dandelions and is on a quest to find a word rhyming with orange.  MUTUAL WEIRDNESS is a contemporary YA featuring an orange minivan, 673 doll shoes, and a girl trying to figure out the balance between herself and what others want her to be.

I’ve been working on this since November 2012 (NaNoWriMo) and thinking about it since well before then. But I’m never going to be completely happy about it. I don’t know why. I’m never completely confident about my work. 

But that doesn’t stop me from showing it to people

It’s hard for me to balance my subjective and objective views of my novels. Objectively, it may need work, but subjectively I may think it’s worse (or better) than it actually is. My advice is to chuck your writing over to a critique partner or three – they can view it more objectively than you can and will offer great advice if you have awesome CPs like me. 

Submit your writing wherever you can! Short stories can often help to build up resumes. Once you and your CPs are happy with your MS, submit it to literary agents or publishers or whatever you like, really. 

But if you hide your writing in a drawer forever, it’s never going to get published. 

This applies to other things as well. I don’t buy into the fact that being modest means putting yourself down. Be proud of your talents! For example, I am very proud of the fact that I bought new school shoes at the start of this year and still haven’t done up the laces. 

Disclaimer: if you just want to write for fun and don’t want to get published, I hereby give you permission to hide it in a drawer forever. 

Or, you know, in a pineapple. 

Is it hard for you to show your work to others? Do you, like me, tread the line between loving and hating your writing? Let me know in the comments!

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10 thoughts on “Write Life Saturday: Ampersand Project and Putting Yourself Out There

  1. Yes. *sobs* I don’t ever want to show anything of my book to anybody. It’s not as hard for me as it used to be, but in all honesty my first thoughts (even to my agent was), “Ha ha, you don’t want to read THAT….come on now.” BUT ANYWAY. OH CONGRATS ON ENTERING. I hope they realise your amazing genius! I know competitions like that can sometimes be suckish…like the books they choose to win? Eh. I always wanted to enter the big amazon competition, but I didn’t even like the books that were winning…also, I think it’s scarier entering a competition then querying an agent. But I totally hope you win. They’ll recognise your genius and I’ll be in the presence of a famous author.

    • But dude, you’ve got an agent, what are you worrying about? (plus, you know, I’ve read your writing. It’s awesome) I LOVED Life in Outer Space, which was the first Ampersand Project book, so I thought why not? And I’ve been working on Mutual Weirdness for a while so I thought I’d give it a few more chances before giving up on it 😛

      Haha, I’m holding out on you being the famous author I’ll be in the presence of 😛

  2. That’s so cool Emily, I wish you the best of luck (: I’m still pretty shy with sharing my writing haha. I get embarrassed by it and worry if people will like it or not. I’m getting better with it, but slowly. I think it’s excepted though, we’re usually our own toughest critics. Loved this post girl c:

    • Thanks, Larissa! It’s understandable that you’re still shy about it, but really the only way to get better is to learn from others. That’s when I started noticing huge improvements in my writing 🙂 and that is so right about being our own toughest critics!

  3. Really great post! Putting my work out there is scary scary scary, even though I’ve been uploading my stories on writing websites for years now. Every time I upload something I’m like, “WHAT IF PEOPLE DON’T LIKE IT? WHAT IF IT’S REALLY, REALLY HORRIBLE?” but I’ve eventually come to learn that not everyone is going to like your writing, and that’s completely OK (which is kind of what I plan on blogging about next Wednesday) just as long as you’ve put your best effort into it.

    I totally get what you mean when you say your not completely happy with your novel. I’m like that with my most-revised novel, too. It’s not that I don’t like my writing, because I do, but for me, it’s more of a fear that other people won’t like it.

    Best of luck in the Ampersand Project!

    • I’m pretty sure EVERY writer goes through stages of this fear, and it’s perfectly understandable: we put so much of ourselves into our writing that any insults to it are like insults to us personally. Sometimes I like holding onto an idea before writing it, because I know the idea is always going to be better than the written version.

      Writers are weird creatures sometimes 🙂

  4. Oh my gosh! GOOD LUCK! I love how you gave it a go even though you aren’t too sure, because you’ll never know without feedback. But i know you’ll do awesomely 🙂

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