As an ambitious, twenty-something writer, I have recently learned the value of opportunity.
I can trace the beginning of my career - of which I am still very much in the beginning of - to Sinclair Community College. In my final year there, I read three of my poems at their Liberal Arts, Communications, and Social Sciences Career Fair in early November of 2015. I'd say this is about the same as dipping your toes in a ice-cold pool. I got my first, true taste of the World of Writing.
Fast forward to 2016, and the opportunities arrive.
I jumped at the chance to work at Sinclair's Writing Center that January, and in late March, I was nominated four times for Sinclair's upcoming Spectrum Awards. Essentially, the Spectrum Awards honors student writers. In April, I won four awards (formal poetry, short story, a mock query package, and became the 2016 recipient of their Legacy Award for an English Major), read a poetry piece to a full room, gave an improvised speech, and met with several professors and the Chair of the English department after the fact.
It was absolutely wonderful.
Later that month, I was also a "keynote" of sorts for a Student Showcase. I have a pretty, little event itinerary with my name inside. My name is spelled wrong, but the fact that I'm listed is what counts.
I left Sinclair and the Writing Center that spring. Summer was a whirl-wind of packing, writing, and research. This fall, I moved and began a new adventure at the University of Cincinnati.
And here, the opportunities are almost overwhelming.
Between following a plethora of writers, blogs, and literary journals on various social media, my new college has been forwarding undergraduate journal submission openings. So far, I have submitted to each one sent my way, and used those to check out previously published writers in order to look into other publishing opportunities.
I also joined my year's Facebook group, which seldom posts anything writerly. However, when they do, it is gold. Right now, I am in the midst of discussing an opportunity that could very well be a game-changer for me in terms of adding more experience to my resume before graduating.
I've visited on-campus writing groups and attended readings at the wonderfully massive, university library. I have also kept an eye on the different contest and submission opportunities on Poets & Writers.
Why am I saying all this?
Truly, it probably sounds ostentatious, but this is my blog, and I can only speak from my experience. I believe the best way to get yourself out there is to immerse yourself in the World of Writing. To network. To query. To submit.
Be an opportunist.
Of course, I also believe that you shouldn't send your work out until it's ready, which is the equivalent of saying when you - as a writer, not a person - is ready.
That is another story for another post.
But until then, until a writer is ready to send their soul out into the world, they can hone their craft as they map out the World of Writing so that, when they are ready, they have the resources and the know-how to succeed.
Meet people. Go to events. Read. Write. Build your platform.
The opportunities are endless, and they will be there when you are ready to seize them.