Getting Your Feet Wet

jm-landels-workshop-nov-8-2016On Tuesday November 8th I’ll be giving a talk at the Royal City Literary Arts Society entitled ‘Getting Your Feet Wet‘.  It’s about submitting to literary journals and magazines as stepping stone in your writing career, but really, what does that have to do with feet?

The idiom ‘getting your feet wet’ has become common enough that we no longer really think about the metaphor, which is probably a good thing.  I live in BC’s lower mainland, and when my feet get wet it’s usually because my boots have been soaked through from rain, or even more thrilling, been pulled right off my feet in knee-deep December mud at the barn.  Wet feet is seldom something I go out of my way to find.

A better metaphor is perhaps the precursor, ‘dipping your toes in the water’.  This at least brings images of the seashore on a day that’s warm enough for swimming.  Your friends try to convince you the water’s fine, but that first touch sure feels icy on your bare feet, and you might hop back a step.  Still, if you screw your courage to the sticking place you will get your feet wet … and your ankles even.  By the time you’re up to your knees, your feet no longer mind being wet at all.  Soon you’ll be fully afloat and  telling your friends, ‘come in, the water’s fine!’

Submitting our writing to an editor can have the same frisson as stepping into the ocean.  Despite the happy swimmers we see out there, the fear of rejection is chilling.  And indeed, our feet (our writing, that is) may not quite be ready for the water.  We might need to feel the icy sting of rejection, jump back, hop from foot to foot (revise, rewrite, throw out and write something better) many times before our feet are inured to cold.

Small press magazines and literary journals are shoreline tidepools:  a little warmer, a little calmer, and a little easier to step into than the open ocean of publishing.  Test your toes in these friendlier markets while you hone your writing for the big time.  This workshop will guide you through the submissions process, including finding the best markets for your work, tracking your submissions, catching an editor’s eye, what you can expect once you’ve hit ‘send’, and what you can expect once a story has been accepted.

No flippers required!summer


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