Read This If You’re Thinking Of Submitting An Article To Thought Catalog

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I remember continually commenting on the fact that I wanted to be a writer for the past couple of years. I have always been a very outspoken person with an incessant need to purge my thoughts. Before publishing my work online, my main vehicle for expressing my vision for the world would be prodigious Facebook statuses, where I would ramble on about my opinions without end. People would often say things like “why don’t you just write a book already?” and one of my friends actually suggested that I begin to write articles. Coincidentally, around the same time as that suggestion, I came across a Facebook post from an acquaintance of mine that contained an article she had written for Thought Catalog. I remember how excited she was. I also remember feeling a slight twinge of envy, thinking to myself, “I wish I were able to write something that would be good enough to get published.”

I put writing my inaugural piece off for a while until one day I decided enough was enough. It was time for me to get my feet wet.

The experience was unlike anything I’ve ever felt before. I took an idea that I’ve had for a long time and was wondering how I was going to be able to articulate it. Soon after the first sentence, the words began to flow almost effortlessly, and after about an hour, I had written my first article. I remember the feeling of losing myself in the process. Time literally stood still and I was completely in the moment during the process of writing it. I believe I was experiencing “flow”, a term coined by best selling author Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (say that 5 times in a row quickly), which basically means having an optimal experience while doing something that you truly enjoy. I was proud of myself for simply accomplishing the task of writing something to completion. That was the beginning, and I definitely did not think it would lead to where I am now.

I decided to submit the article to the site, and after sending it I thought nothing of it. I honestly didn’t think they were going to actually publish what I had sent them. It was my very first time writing anything and I wasn’t very confident in my skills as a writer whatsoever, but I figured it was at least worth a shot to send it in. Life went on and I proceeded forward through my week paying no attention to my inbox, until one day I noticed an email addressed from Thought Catalog. They liked my piece, and had decided to publish it. To say that I was excited was an understatement. The idea that people from different places around the world were taking the time out of their day to read what I had to say provided me with an almost indescribable feeling. I was on top of the world. Maybe I was decent at this writing thing after all.

I wrote another article and submitted it, still not sure if my original piece was a fluke, and I waited. It took about a week and then I received another email saying that they were going to publish this article as well. I distinctly remember the editor telling me “Your writing has conviction and your voice is strong, and that’s a half of the battle.” He encouraged me to send more pieces in, so I did. He was extremely understanding and helpful. He answered questions (I had a bunch of them) I had about developing a career in writing, and we continued to work together for the next couple of months.

I’ve written a couple dozen articles for the site now and I’m having an absolute blast. I feel my confidence growing every time I sit down and open my laptop. I’m discovering a world full of endless avenues for potential experience and I’m preparing for any and every opportunity that comes my way. I’ve found something that I truly enjoy doing.

I think to myself now,

{*}What if I had never submitted my first piece?

{*}What if I had kept saying, “it’d be cool to write someday”?

I’m glad that those questions are just hypothetical instances instead of a reality in which I never decided to seek out a path that provided me with fulfillment. Regardless of whether or not my career will turn out the way I envision it, the most important thing that I’ve been able to take away from my experiences so far is this — Listen to that voice that’s calling deep from within you. Don’t ignore it. Don’t listen to what your family and friends are suggesting you do with your life. Throw the words realistic and practical out of your vocabulary; eviscerate and demolish your limiting beliefs. I’m specifically addressing this to those of you who are on the fence as to whether or not you should start writing and blogging, but this can be applied to any area of interest. Give it a shot. You have nothing to lose. At the very worst your work will go unpublished, and even if that were the case, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re not talented. There are tons of successful writers who’ve had their work rejected. The feeling of putting yourself out there and falling a bit short will always outweigh having to say “what if”.

So if you’re reading this and you want to put your work out there, do it now. Close out of this article, open your word document, and let the journey begin. TC mark

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