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Not too long ago I joined the online critique / readers group: Scribophile. As I began to browse the categories of sub-groups to join and participate in, I found one that was an open writing competition. Part of the prize was that the winning stories were to be published in an anthology. So I took a look.

There were famous author names producing the contest, editing the submissions and already having their stories included in the anthology. I was immediately intimidated to say the least.

How could I compete with other authors who have published 20 to 30 novels and countless short works?

So for a few weeks I hemmed and hawed my way through procrastination until it was too late to submit any work and I missed the contest deadline. Did I feel bad? No, but I wasn’t out looking for another contest like that again.

It’s amazing how our own fears and lack of self-confidence stop us from action. What is the worse that could happen? Answer: No one responds to my submission and it doesn’t get included. That’s not any worse off then where I was with having submitted nothing. So why the big deal?!?

It shouldn’t be a big deal.

What I should have done is taken on the challenge and worked three times as hard as the next guy to write and edit a piece that was worthy to compete with known published writers. I should have gone out and looked for other contests, if that is where I could best use my time and talent. I should have sucked it up, finished that edit job on an existing story and sent it in to a publisher.

I should have. . .I should have. . .I should have.

Oh, how regret and a sense of silliness follow closely on the steps of fear, self-doubt and inaction.

So don’t let your fears get the better of you. If you feel less confident about your writing, work hard to improve. But at some point you need to put yourself out there to better learn and grow.

Avoid regret and don’t give into intimidation. Keep on writing!