Submitting my short stories is always a stressful activity to me. Not so much the actual submitting, but the finding of ezines, magazines, and anthologies to submit to is stressful for me. I’ve been doing it for a couple of years now and I have concluded that I’m just terrible at it.
I don’t think I’m a very good judge of my own work in terms of establishing that it’s a good fit for a publication. I typically teeter on the fence of decision for a bit before finally falling to the side of NO. Rarely do I hit on a publication that just screams PERFECT at me so loudly that I cannot deny it (we’ll just never mind the inevitable rejection). It’s when I get to the end of my futile search empty-handed that I start to wonder if the story I’ve written is just impossible to publish because it doesn’t fit anywhere. And then I feel like I’m just spinning my wheels and not getting anywhere in my writing career. This torture has made researching publications my least favorite part of being a writer.
After my latest round of torture, I decided that I needed to change my plan.
My usual tactic was to hit up Duotrope as soon as I had a story (or two or three) ready to submit, paw through the listings looking for a fit, and get incredibly discouraged if I couldn’t find something so I could submit the story that day.
My revised plan will be a little less stressful, a little more laid back, but hopefully (in the long run, at least) be more productive. I’ll keep a list of stories that are ready to go. I’ll hit up Duotrope once a week. If I find something, great. If not, there’s always next week. Meanwhile, I can continue to add to my ready list and not feel entirely like I’m failing.
This less-pressure method might work for me. It might not. But I’ve got to try something new because the old method isn’t working for me. And I’ve got to be more willing to acccept that something isn’t working and come up with a new game plan.
I’m a bit of goat when it comes to insisting on doing things the hard way.
As NaNoWriMo is done for me for yet another year, I propose to introduce a new Writing Wednesday feature to help keep me publicly accountable for my short stories. It will account for the number of stories I have done, the stories I have out, and any acceptances or rejections I get for the week, on the occasion that I get them (those are few and far between most of the time, but rejections are more likely than acceptances).
Stories by the Numbers
Rejections: 3 (no response)
2 thoughts on “Writing–A Change in Plans”
Do you search for publications based on subject matter of the stories (like pubs that only take certain genres?)? I’ve never tried to get published, so I don’t know how the whole process really works. My college creative writing classes were sadly not very helpful with teaching us HOW to get published.
Yeah, I search by genre and subgenre categories, then I take a closer look at possible publications to see if my story would fit. If I think it will, I submit it and wait for a response. There’s really not much more to it.