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15 January 2010 @ 12:33 pm
Healthy Competition  
My wife Debbie and I have both been writing short, speculative fiction recently and sending stories out to various sites.  Writing is an immensely satisfying activity, as is reading and critiquing the writing of others.  When it comes to sending stories out, however, there is an element of competition that arises.

Because the stories we are writing are suitable for similar markets Debbie and I have had to make decisions about where to send things, and whether submitting stories simultaneously to the same place is a good idea.  Do we want to directly compete for a spot in a zine or on a website?  Is it a good idea for Matt Cowens and Debbie Cowens to appear in the same inbox?

To keep the competition healthy we have:
- extensively read, reread and made suggestions for each other's stories so that we are both highly invested in any submission, regardless of which of us wrote it.
- taken turns sending stories to some sites (waiting until the other person heard back before making a submission).
- celebrated each other's successes
- generally been lucky enough to receive acceptance emails and anthology offers within about a week of each other, so our levels of success are very even :-)

So, with writers' groups or writing couples competing for a limited number of publication spots, how do people keep the competition healthy?  Or is a little unhealthy envy, one-upmanship and pride part of a successful writer's recipe?
 
 
 
a_r_williamsa_r_williams on February 4th, 2010 08:50 pm (UTC)
I saw your story on Every Day Fiction and stopped by here. Pretty good, nice story.

As far as this post, I think that type of competition is not the best for a relationship. There are plenty of other writers to "compete" against. Why add someone that can be one of your biggest supporters to the list?

In truth, I think the real competition of every writer is to write better than they currently can. The goal isn't, or shouldn't be, to out do someone else. Although, it can sometimes help to compare yourself to people both better and worse than you--mainly so that you can figure out what works and what doesn't. But that's just my two cents :)
Matt Cowensmattcowens on February 4th, 2010 11:20 pm (UTC)
Thanks for stopping by!

I have to say I agree with everything you've said. Debbie and I seem to have been lucky and careful enough to remain each other's biggest supporters while technically competing for spots in some of the same markets.

The coolest thing to happen thus far in that regard is the Shades of Sentience anthology that's coming out in April from sentientonline.net. They offered me a spot, then a couple weeks later Debbie got in too, so we get to share our first anthology outing :-)
a_r_williamsa_r_williams on February 5th, 2010 08:01 am (UTC)
Congrats!