Have you ever been in a situation where no matter what you do, it seems as if the words are not coming? I know that this has happened to me many times. When people ask me how I overcame my writer's block, well truthfully when working for an entertainment magazine on a day-to-day basis there was never any time for writer's block. The deadlines were so tight and we had to just keep writing despite our lack of creative ideas or inspiration.
Now that I no longer work in that capacity, my writing has slowed down. It's still there and it will always be but with all of the other things on my plate like publishing few books throughout the year while juggling freelance gigs to make ends meet; sometimes you just need some time off to regroup your thoughts before diving head first into the next project or book deadline.
Sometimes, writers have to deal with writer's block. Writer's block can keep you from writing for days or even months and it is tempting to ignore the problem when possible but that just won't suffice.
That's why I put together this post about overcoming writer's block like a pro.
You may not be able to find the perfect formula for overcoming writer's block, but I hope some of these tips will help you along the way. It certainly did for me.
1. The Best Creativity is a Result of Good Work Habits
Creativity can be easily elusive, but it doesn't have to stay that way. As Twyla Tharp once said, "Creativity is habit."
Developing this creative routine will help you get in the right state of mind and put your thoughts down on paper more easily or into the computer— not just when it's fresh from inspiration's hand.
2. Developing a Writing Routine
Creativity is not something that naturally ebbs and flows. But the truth is, if you only write when you "feel creative" then your creativity will eventually get stuck with writer's block. Developing habits over time can help combat this situation by organizing productivity in an orderly fashion so it doesn't take as much effort to start working on projects again once they've been left for awhile between other ones or forgotten completely because of writer's blocks—inducing distractions like social media sites and video games.
3. Use "Imperfect Words"
A writer can spend hours looking for the perfect word or phrase to illustrate a concept. You can avoid this by simply writing what you're thinking, whether is reads eloquent or not. You can come back later and refine it. Watch a movie or TV show, or eat a delicious meal to get your synapse crackling again. Snippets of conversations, sounds, colors sensations will creep into the space that once felt empty and you can return to your desk with a whole new spark of intention.
4. Balance Your Inner Critic
Yes, the inner critic always there to being your writing to a screeching halt with a big dose of self-doubt. All writers, even the greats—Stephen King, Margaret Atwood and Charles Bukowski all struggled with it. You would be hard-pressed to find a writer who hasn't been blocked by their inner critic.
What these successful writers have in common is the ability to hear their inner critic, respectfully acknowledge its points, and move forward. Once you can establish a respectful, balanced relationship, you can address what's necessary and skip over what's insecure and irrelevant.
5. Do Non-Writing Activities
One of the best ways to climb out of a writing funk is to take yourself out of your own work and into someone else's. Do you have a favorite author? Read someone else's work to get inspired again. Watching funny cat videos is something else that has always worked for me too.
6. Look For the Root Of It
Writer's block often comes from a problem deeper than simple lack of inspiration. So you need to dig deeper to see why you are really blocked. Ask yourself the following questions:
· Do I feel pressure to succeed/or compete with other writers?
· Have I lost sight of what I am writing about or interest in the subject matter?
· Have I not written for so long that I feel intimidated by the mere act of it all?
· Am I simply tired and run-down?
Each of these problems has a different solution. For example, if you feel pressure to succeed, you should remind yourself that writing is an enormous accomplishment, and literary recognition isn't the be all and end all of success. If you are feeling tired and drained, just take a few days off from writing. But you have to get to the root of the block first: One you identify what is wrong, it will be much easier to fix.
7. Don't Start at the Beginning
By far the most intimidating part of writing is the start when you have a whole empty book to fill with coherent words. I know just the thought of it makes us beak out in a cold sweat!
So instead of starting with the chronological "beginning" or whatever you are tiring to write, dive into the middle, or wherever you feel more confortable. You will feel less pressure to get everything "right" straight away because you are already at a "halfway point"—and by the time you return to the beginning you'll be all warmed up and ready to go!
8. Write Something Else
Though it's important to try and push through writer's block with what you're actually working on, sometimes it is simply impossible. If you are banging your head against what you are writing, take a break. Push your current piece aside and write something new. You can always go back to it later.
9. Relax On Your First Draft
Many writers suffer from "perfectionism" issues, which can especially debilitating during a first draft. As Editor Lauren Hughes explains: "Blocks often occur because writers put a lot of pressure on themselves to sound 'right" the first time. A good way to loosen up and have fun again in a draft is to give yourself permission to write imperfectly."
Don't agonize about getting it exactly right. You can always go back and edit. But for this time around, just getting the words on the page is enough.
10. Stop Writing For Readers
If you are an experienced author, you most likely have seen advice on "write for the market." While this is important if you want to be published, the pressure of other people's expectations can be a huge inhibitor that manifests—you guessed it, as a huge block.
So, if you want to reclaim the joy of being creative, throw the "write for the market" idea out the window for now. This will help get you back in touch with what matters most— your story. This may indeed help your writing in the end. Disregard what readers expect and your writing will read less pretentious and more real.
For more tips on how to overcome writer's block, click on the link below.
My guest blogger is first-time children's book author, Ro Leone. Her Ella Phantasy and a Trunkful of Dreams is a delightful read filled with glorious illustrations. The story follows the journey between Ella Phantasy and her BFF Ozzie Owl.
You can find it on Amazon in both ebook and print. You can follow Ro Leone on Facebook. If you prefer to hear the author's rendition, you can access it here on YouTube. Don't forget to tell her how much you enjoyed her book!
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The story of my children's book came as a result of my own experiences as a child. But I'm sure it's a universal problem for many children.
I remember being about 11 years old, and I had the trifecta of issues that could plague a girl.
I was overweight, wore glasses and had braces. I was called four-eyes, fatty and I was compared to the front grille of a Buick because of my braces. They weren't clear braces like the Invisalign options that are available today, but ones made of stainless steel that wrapped around the entire tooth. You could barely see the tooth at all. So the comparison to the chrome front portion of a car was quite accurate. I don't think I smiled for about five years.
Kids can be cruel and I was shamed many times a day, courtesy of the many bullies in the classroom. I had some very good friends who cared for me for who I was, but I was too caught up in the jeers to recognize the cheers. This book draws upon my experiences with peer taunts that were endless. In my book, Ella, in her young elephant world, never feels like she's as good as her best friend Ozzie Owl knows she is. She has to learn it on her own when her own heroics in critical times reveal the character and worth she always had. Perhaps your child has been beset by teasing or taunting, even though you tell them time and again how special he or she is. This story helps them see with their own eyes, from the words and vivid illustrations what Ella goes through, how this can happen to anyone and that they need not be sad because all turns out well in the end.
If this story seems to resonate with you and what your child might be going through, I invite you to listen to me, the author, as I read the book on YouTube.
https://youtu.be/RyXiNJc-l1k And if you wish to have the book for your own, it is available on Amazon.
By the way, I'm an old, but not mature, adult now, and I'm fairly well-adjusted.
Thank you for reading.
I'm not surprised? Are you? Similar events with eBook pricing have happened before. According to The Wallstreet Journal, Amazon is facing a new lawsuit alleging that a deal between the company and five book publishers has created higher prices on e-books. Read on...
Amazon.com and the "Big Five" publishers -- Penguin Random House, Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan and Simon & Schuster -- have been accused of colluding to fix ebook prices, in a class action filed by the law firm that successfully sued Apple and the Big Five on the same charge 10 years ago. The Guardian reports:
The lawsuit, filed in district court in New York on Thursday by Seattle firm Hagens Berman, on behalf of consumers in several US states, names the retail giant as the sole defendant but labels the publishers "co-conspirators." It alleges Amazon and the publishers use a clause known as "Most Favored Nations" (MFN) to keep ebook prices artificially high, by agreeing to price restraints that force consumers to pay more for ebooks purchased on retail platforms that are not Amazon.com. The lawsuit claims that almost 90% of all ebooks sold in the US are sold on Amazon, in addition to over 50% of all print books. The suit alleges that ebook prices dropped in 2013 and 2014 after Apple and major publishers were successfully sued for conspiring to set ebook prices, but rose again after Amazon renegotiated their contracts in 2015.
"In violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Antitrust Act, Defendant and the Big Five Co-conspirators agreed to various anti-competitive MFNs and anti-competitive provisions that functioned the same as MFNs," the complaint states. "Amazon's agreement with its Co-conspirators is an unreasonable restraint of trade that prevents competitive pricing and causes Plaintiffs and other consumers to overpay when they purchase ebooks from the Big Five through an ebook retailer that competes with Amazon. That harm persists and will not abate unless Amazon and the Big Five are stopped." The suit seeks compensation for consumers who purchased ebooks through competitors, damages and injunctive relief that would require Amazon and the publishers to "stop enforcing anti-competitive price restraints."—Source:TheGuardian.com
Pretty soon there'll be just one big book publisher left. When I read these words I didn't want to believe it. With the acquisition of Simon & Schuster by Penguin Random House shows that the industry is headed toward a monopolistic singularity. NewRepublic.com has the story. Read on ...
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America's biggest, most powerful book publisher is about to get even bigger and more powerful. On Wednesday, a number of outlets reported that Penguin Random House had reached an agreement with ViacomCBS to purchase Simon & Schuster, the nation's third-largest publisher, for $2 billion. The resulting conglomerate would publish at least a third of all books sold in the United States, and transform Penguin Random House, already a superpower, into an industry-dominating behemoth, with potentially serious consequences for authors, publishing employees, and diversity of thought. That extraordinary level of concentration will dramatically lower competition in the publishing industry, likely leading to job cuts, lower advances for authors, and fewer non-blockbuster books being published by commercial publishers.
The sale of Simon & Schuster comes near the end of a strange year for the company. Carolyn Reidy, an industry stalwart and the company's longtime CEO, died in the springand was replaced by Jonathan Karp. During that time, S&S became the defining publisherof the Trump era, with a keen eye for well-timed blockbusters about the president, which both formed a large chunk of its revenue and resulted in serious and costly legal challenges from the Trump administration. Though major releases by John Bolton and Mary Trump helped make it profitable, Simon & Schuster was put up for sale because ViacomCBS is reorienting its business to focus on streaming and needed funds to pay down debt.
In a somewhat surprising twist, many in the industry were rooting for the other known bidder for Simon & Schuster—the Rupert Murdoch–owned HarperCollins—to acquire the publisher, in the hopes that it would create more competition for Penguin Random House. That Murdoch is seen as something of a savior says a great deal about the widespread fear of Penguin Random House. Not only will the acquisition expand the number of titles PRH puts out, it will expand its already extremely powerful distribution network. (Simon & Schuster serves as a distributor for a number of outside publishers, most notably Skyhorse.)
I'm always in search of the latest and greatest apps for writers even if I don't use them. I found the following list on Web Design Relief— a web design and marketing guidance site for authors— and would like to share it with you.
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Most writers know that creating a great, memorable short story, book, or poem takes a considerable amount of determination, energy, and craft. Keeping track of ideas, edits, and revisions—while avoiding the temptation of social media and cat videos—can make it hard to focus on completing your work. Fortunately, there are lots of free apps and software available to help writers succeed! Web Design Relief has compiled a list of twenty great, must-have free apps and software programs that no writer should live—or write—without.
The Best Must-Have Free Apps And Software For Writers
Free Word Processing Software For Writers
Microsoft Word may be the king of word processing programs, but it comes with a hefty price tag. Check out these free compatible options.
LibreOffice. LibreOffice comes from the open-source word processing program Open Office. Along with word processing software, it includes spreadsheet and PowerPoint capabilities. One of its best features is its compatibility with Microsoft Word formats (like .docx) so you can share your manuscript easily with editors and agents.
Google Docs. Although the word processing features of Google Docs are very basic, they'll suffice for most users. All you need is a Google account to log in, which allows you to access your documents on any computer. Google Docs's biggest advantage lies in the user's ability to write and collaborate in real time with other authors on a project.
Apple Pages. Another app that allows real-time collaboration is Apple Pages for Mac users, a powerful word processing program that's part of the iWork productivity suite. For indie writers, one perk of this software is the ability to export a manuscript directly to an .epub format.
(Mostly) Free Writing Software For Novelists
Scrivener. Though there is a cost for this software, the thirty-day free trial period makes it worthy of a mention. Scrivener is easily one of the top software programs for novelists and offers organizational tools to keep tabs on research, storyboarding views of your novel, and productivity features that help you reach your goals. At an average cost of about fifty dollars, Scrivener's a real bargain.
Shaxpir. Pronounced "Shakespeare," Shaxpir is a cloud-based software for novelists who want to set goals, brainstorm, keep track of research, attach concept art, and ultimately export the manuscript into various formats.
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For more on free software for writers visit Web Design Relief. There's so much more to explore such as generating title and idea and writing in peace apps. My go-to writing in peace app is Coffitivity. There's even links to free grammar and editing software apps to choose from on the site.
Got a new free writing app you want to share, let me know.
Happy, healthy writing!
If you want to be a published writer you should sustain a regular writing routine. Nearly every writer I've met or interviewed has one and adheres to it. I taught a recent adult writing class on how to promote good writing habits that included churning out 1000 words a day. Writing every day not only clears your mind but it will give you more confidence.
Many authors believe creating a habit of writing every day even if you are not so good at it will help you to become a better writer. The only way to become a better writer is to keep practicing. Many accomplished writers say they need to write every day to figure out what they really think about a subject. Writing forces you to think.
How many words do you think you can produce in a day? I prefer 1,000 to 2,000 words a day. Whether it is working on a new book, freelance piece or something for my website. I don't always hit my mark, but the important thing is to keep writing even if you don't think the words are that good.
Here are some daily word counts and quotations from famous authors to help keep you motivated.
Stephen King: 2000 Words
"I like to get 10 pages a day, which amounts to 2,000 words."
Anne Rice: 3000 Words
"I have to get all distractions out of the way. I plunge into the work and I write an episode; I can't just clock in at 3,000 words. I have to have time to resolve things."
Ernest Hemingway: 500 Words
"I had learned never to empty the well of my writing, but always to stop when they're still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that fed it."
Mark Twain: 1,400-1,1800 Words
"In 1897, when we were living in Tedworth Square, London, and I was writing the book called "Following the Equator" my average was eighteen hundred words a day; here in Florence, (1904), my average seems to be fourteen hundred words per sitting of four or five hours."
Sarah Waters (Welsh novelist): 1,000 Words
"My minimum is 1,000 words a day… Those 1,000 words might well be rubbish- they often are. But then, it is always easier to return to rubbish words at a later date and make them better."
J.G. Ballard: 1,000 Words
"I aim for about six hundred words a day and hope for at least a thousand when I'm on a roll."
Nicholas Sparks: 2000 Words
Sparks says a novel takes him a few months to conceive, and then about five months to write. He sets a daily goal for himself of 2,000 words, which takes him about five to six hours to write.
Arthur Hailey (Passed away in 2004): 600 Words
"I set myself 600 words a day as a minimum output, regardless of the weather, my state of mind or if I'm sick or well. There must be 600 finished words- not almost right words."
Holly Black: 1,000 Words
"I try to write a thousand words every day. I've actually put up my daily word counts online for my last several novels. I do this to keep myself honest, saying exactly when I wrote what part of the book. Certainly the comment I most often get is, 'That's not really a lot of words,' but it goes to show that just steadily working will get you a book."
Lee Child: 1,800 Words
"I write in the afternoon, from about 12 until about 6 or 7. I use an upstairs room as my office. Once I get going I keep at it, and it usually takes about six months from the first blank screen until the end."
Click here or more daily word counts of famous authors.
Keep writing and let me know what works best for you.
A freelance writer today faces many challenges. As a longtime freelancer I know because I've faced them all. There will always be obstacles, there will always be struggles, and that's why you must never give up.
This following resource site has one of the best guides for new writers I've seen on the Internet. It coves everything from "Finding the Right Freelance Writing Job" to "How To Discuss a Freelance Project With a Client" to "How To Manage Your Freelance Writing Time" and "How To Get Paid." Be sure to check it out. You won't be disappointed. Good luck!
If you're thinking of becoming a freelancer, you're probably bored with your day job and looking for new challenges in your life. Maybe you love the idea of being your own boss, or maybe you just need more flexibility in your work schedule. Either way, the freelance life could be perfect for you.
When you're a freelancer, everything's up to you. You can choose to work from the comfort of your own home, from your favorite cafe or from a shared office space. If you're the adventurous type, you can even be a digital nomad, traveling the world with your trusty laptop. You can work for several clients at a time or find one reliable client who can provide you with regular work. You can work regular business hours just like the rest of the world, or sleep till noon and do your work during the wee hours of the night.
The most important thing is to determine what will work best for you, and find your own way to do it successfully. Because after all, that's what freelancing is all about: finding your own way.
With all the different options out there, if you're just starting your freelance career, things can seem quite overwhelming. But don't worry – we're here to help you figure it all out.
Your Cheat Sheet to Becoming a Successful Freelancer
The freelance life is challenging, but it can be very rewarding and enjoyable. We've compiled this comprehensive guide to help you become a successful freelancer. Read on to learn all you need to know about finding work, pricing, managing, and building a freelance business.
Chapter 1: Finding a Freelance Job
Freelancers can find clients in all sorts of places, but one of the best options is through online freelance platforms. Recent data shows that this is how 75% of freelancers find work. Freelance platforms are online marketplaces where freelancers can showcase their skills, share their portfolio, and outline their rates. Clients know that they'll find plenty of freelancers on these sites, so it's usually the first port of call for businesses to browse talent and find the right person to work on their next project. Determine which freelance platform (or platforms) is the best for you!
If you want to become a better writer, you have to keep writing and studying your craft. Over the years, I've read hundreds of books on writing better and faster and I keep researching for new titles I haven't read yet. Still a favorite go-to for me is Strunk and White, The Elements of Style. It still holds up after nearly 100 years! As mostly a non-fiction writer who focused on entertainment and pop culture, I could not get by without the AP Style Guide.
It takes courage to write honestly and to write well. Bookfox.com is one of the dozens of writing sites I visit regularly to stay engaged.
What I like best about this site is that it a great resource for writers just starting out. Sometimes I forget what that is like since I write for a living. It's been mentioned by some of my favorite media outlets including Publisher's Weekly, Writer's Digest and The Chicago Tribune.
So here's author John Matthew Fox's Top 5 Best Books (including print and Kindle editions) on writing which mirrors many of my own choices, especially On Writing by Stephen King. Here, he explains why each book is necessary, so pay attention. Regardless of your level of writing experience these books will help to improve your craft.
So, add these resourceful titles to your bookshelf today.
1. Best Book for Beginners
"On Writing" by Stephen King
This book is the equivalent of an entire degree in writing. Seriously, my entire undergrad experience in creative writing could have been boiled down into the plainspoken and practical advice that King gives. He's exceptionally clear and only includes the most helpful information. If you are starting out as a writer, this book is vital.
2. Best Book to Help You Overcome Writing Fears
"The Courage to Write" by Ralph Keyes
So many of us fear writing. We love it, we want it, and yet we're scared of it. Keyes encourages us that this is perfectly normal, and shows us all the famous authors who have overcome crippling fears. If you want a bolt of lightning in your fingertips, Keyes will deliver it to you. There is no way you can read this and not feel emboldened to write your book.
3. Best Book to Help You Live the Writing Life
"Making a Literary Life" by Carolyn See
Carolyn See is responsible for my writing habits. She told me to write 1,000 words every day, and I followed this advice religiously. She has a ton of other practical advice too (about money, and about habits) and she literally changed my writing life. Read her. Now.
4. Best Collection of Writing Essays
"The Writer's Notebook" by Assorted Authors (Tin House Books)
Steve Almond talks about sex scenes ("Hard Up for a Hard-on"), Aimee Bender talks about character motivation, and we also get essays about how to write a dynamic scene and choose exactly the right word. Whether you're just starting out or have 3 books under your belt, this book will give you the lowdown on powerful writing skills.
5. Best Book for Advanced Writers
"The Art of Subtext" by Charles Baxter
You don't just want to write books that are good on the surface. You want to write books with layers of meaning, books that entertain the reader on the second read and the third read. Books so deep the reader can't stop thinking about them, and want to discuss them with their book club. Baxter teaches you how to do that.
For more writing tips for beginners as well as advance writers, visit the BoxFox here.
I've been writing about entertainment/celebrity news most of my adult life. I've been published consistently since I was 15. When I was learning my craft, I took my journalism training very seriously. "Report only the facts, verify your sources, keep clear of controversial topics, that kind of thing. Now, the rules seem to have changed and I am not so comfortable writing about celebrities and other public figures anymore.
There are so many "Fake News" stories and outlets as well as well as way too much celebrity gossip and scandal news which I have no interested in reporting.
I came across this story on actress Angelina Jolie and how she plans to produce a TV show that will teach older kids how to spot fake news stories. I was intrigued. Now, that's a novel idea.
Fake News just seems to be everywhere on the Internet. But what exactly constitutes Fake News and how will older kids be able to determine the difference?
According to Wikipedia, Fake News is "a form of news consisting of deliberate disinformation or hoaxes spread via traditional news media or online social media. Digital news has brought back and increased the usage of fake news, or yellow journalism."
Bottom line: Fake News is information that cannot be verified, without sources, and possibly untrue.
Jolie, who has six children teamed with the BBC to create BBC My World, which will "explain the stories behind news and offer facts and information" to help kids over the age of 13 make up their own minds on pressing international issues.
In a statement, The Maleficent star explained: "As a parent I am happy to be able to give my support to a program that aims to help children learn more about the lives of other young people around the world, and connect to them to each other. I hope it will help children find the information and tools they need to make a difference on the issues that matter to them."
BBC My World will be a weekly half-hour program airing Sundays at 11:30 a.m. on BBC World News and will also be made available via a YouTube channel. The program does not yet have an air date.
Best Indie Book Award has named the best independent books of 2019. Twenty-four authors, two illustrators, and one book cover designer are among the winners of the 2019 Best Indie Book Award (Otherwise known as the BIBAs). The winners were all presented with a physical BIBA trophy and their books displayed on the BIBA website.
2019 marked the 7th year of the BIBA contest, with two new awards being added to the lineup this year, an illustration award, and cover design award. The illustration contest resulted in a tie between Stefan Motmans (STEMO) and Rashad Malik Davis, bringing the total awards to twenty-seven.
24 Literary Award Winners
2 Illustration Winners
1 Cover Design Winner
Iconic actor, Alan Scarfe, known for his roles in Star Trek, Highlander, Stargate Atlantis, Lethal Weapon 3, Mysterious Island and The Outer Limits is one of several actors that garnered an award this year. Miles Watson picked up his third BIBA trophy for his works Knuckle Down and Sinner's Cross.
"The indie author scene has exploded in recent years, and the quality of indie writing continues to improve as a whole. We definitely have our work cut out for us."
Indie (Independent) authors are those who are engaged in self-publishing. Wikipedia defines self-publishing as "The publication of media by its author without the involvement of an established publisher. In common parlance, the term usually refers to physical written media, such as books and magazines, or digital media, such as e-books and websites. Unlike the traditional publishing model, in which control of the publication is shared with a publisher, the author controls the entire process, including design, price, distribution, marketing, and public relations."
According to Fortune Magazine, Ebook self-publishing has well surpassed the $1 billion mark.
"Our entrants understand the value of standing out in the crowd. With more than 1.5 million self-published books being released every year, it's easy for an author to drown in a sea of electronic pulp. Winning an award for a book can go a long way when it comes to visibility and credibility as an author. Best Indie Book Award helps authors reach a broader audience, and readers can be confident in their purchase when they choose an award-winning book."
A few of the other 2019 winners are:
Action Winner: Zimbabwe Hustle by Nate Granzow
Non-Fiction> Health Winner: Your Precious Sight by Dr. Eichin Chang-Lim
Mystery Winner: Honest John Raises Cain by Michael Dell
Memoir Winner: Stealing Cinderella by Mark D Diehl
Romance Winner: Playing With Fire by D.A. Henneman
Novella Winner: Kindred Spirits by Kevin Christopher Brown
Poetry Winner: Labyrinth by Fernando Rover Jr
Children's Winner: The Way To Be From A To Z by R.B. Schimmel
A complete list of winners is available on the Best Indie Book Award website: BestIndieBookAward.com
2020 Best Indie Book Awards Submissions are now open for the 2020 Best Indie Book Contest, 2020 Best Illustration Contest, and the 2020 Best Book Cover Design Contest. Entries are accepted online at BestIndieBookAward.com/submit/