Wednesday, September 3, 2014

IWSG, Night Visitors & Links

It's that time again. That time where all us insecure folks get together to discuss our insecurities in the Insecure Writer's Support Group, created by Alex J. Cavanaugh. Sit down, grab a cup of bitter coffee and a stale doughnut, and let's share a little about what ails us. Anyone can participate--just go to the link above and sign up!

The way I'm feeling right now, the better question would be: What am I feeling secure about? The answer is: Not much. But here's what I do know. I love writing. I'm happy when I'm writing. No matter what my publishing status, I will continue to write, even if it's just for me.

Isn't it ourselves we should be writing for in the first place? Publication is the bonus, sure, but the words we write are for ourselves. That's where the joy is. Everyone needs that pat on the back, in whatever way they desire it, but the real joy is taking those ideas that seed in our minds, planting them on the paper, and watching them bloom before us. I say hold onto that joy. Don't let it go, whether you're struggling to be published or already published and trying to market it. Don't let the business of writing keep you from the pleasure of writing.

[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday is a peek at a little peeping tom I had on the back porch last night, along with his little buddy.

These little guys moved furniture around on my porch, causing me to shut the lights out and check out the windows to see who was out there (it was around 1:30 in the morning). There was a squeak at the back door, and not seeing anything outside, I opened the shades (I have french doors) and bent down to look. Staring back at me were two curious raccoons. My poor puffed up cat and I sat there for a moment studying them while they did the same. Finally, I grabbed my camera and opened the door and they scurried over to the stairs, but one continued to watch me. That's his face there. He was also the one who kept standing up down in the lawn to look at me when I stood on my porch photographing them. The pictures suck because it was pitch black, but it was a kick to watch them frolicking in my backyard for at least thirty minutes. I can't believe I've lived here for so long and never run into raccoons before!

Now for some links.

Accepting Submissions:

The David Tyson Report is putting together an anthology on ghosts. Horror, but it can be mixed with other genres. 2000-5000 words. Pays $10 and a contributor copy. Deadline September 28.

Blue Skirt Press is putting together an anthology about the loss of parents. Poetry, stories, art, photography. Deadline September 30. Payment is a contributor copy.

Chicken Soup for the Soul is seeking stories along the lines of "Thanks to My Mom." Prose and poetry. 1200 words or less. Pays $200. Deadline September 30.

The third issue of Phobos Magazine is looking for entries with the theme "Troublemake." Short and flash weird fiction or poetry. Must have elements of the macabre. Deadline September 30. Limit 1000 for flash, 2500 for prose and poetry. Paying market.

Firbolg Publishing would like your stories for Enter At Your Own Risk: Dreamscapes Into Darkness. 3000-5000 words. Deadline September 30. Pays $50 and a contributor copy.

Crossed Genres current theme is "Indoctrinate." Deadline September 30. Must possess elements of sci-fi and/or fantasy. 1000-6000 words. Pays $.06/word.


Book Trust and the Sunday Times are holding The Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award. Maximum of 6000 words. Must have been published in UK and Ireland. Deadline September 26. Cash prizes.

The Freeman Family and Drake University Department of English are holding the Payton James Freeman Essay Prize. Write an essay with the theme "After the Unhappy Ending." Up to 3500 words. Prize is $500, publication, and being brought out as a speaker. Deadline September 30.

The L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Award is open through September 30. First prize is $1000. Prose up to 17,000 words. For new writers of short fiction or novelettes in sci-fi or fantasy.

The University of Iowa Press is holding the Iowa Short Fiction Award and John Simmons Short Fiction Award. Must be a collection of short stories, at least 150 pages. Deadline September 30.

On a final note, A-to-Z co-hosts, past and present, have written a tribute to Tina Downey at the A-to-Z blog.

What are your insecurities? Do you still feel the joy of writing? Had any run-ins with raccoons? Any of these links of interest to you? Anything to share? Publishing news?

May you find your Muse.


  1. As long as you do what you enjoy, everything is peachy. Keep writing!

  2. The raccoons have found you now!
    I've always viewed publication as a bonus. I wrote for me and to my amazement, others enjoyed it as well.

  3. Love this line - "Don't let the business of writing keep you from the pleasure of writing." Great reminder! :)

    Madeline @ The Shellshank Redemption

  4. There is something comforting about writing a story that I need to get out of my system, even if there's no guarantee it would ever get published.

  5. I love writing, too. That's something that we all have to come back to when we get to stressed with editing and submissions.

  6. If I don't love what I'm writing, then I try to find something to love about what I'm writing. I actually used to enjoy writing school essays when most people disliked doing them.

    Some great links--I'm thinking about some of these now.

    Tossing It Out

  7. I love raccoons! I've always wanted one.

    I don't write for myself. If it was for me, I wouldn't bother to put it on paper. The putting it on paper is so that other people can read it. Maybe that's just me.

  8. Raccoons have a Sunday night party at my place. Monday is garbage day. So they feast the night before. They make a terrible mess.

  9. I was very anxious about picking up my writing after a nearly 5 year hiatus. Once I decided to write for myself (not with any hopes of publishing) did the words start to flow again. Raccoons can be such a mess--as bad as the geese in our backyard.

  10. We see a few of those bandits around here but we have lots of deer hanging out under our apple trees. Hope you get those insecurities worked out.

  11. This line caught my eye: "Don't let the business of writing keep you from the pleasure of writing."
    I suspect that's what seems to be happening to lots of writers...
    Thanks for the reminder!

  12. I think you caught the essence: we write because we love to write, not because it's a business. The business part is a necessary step because as writers we strive to have readers. But we should never forget that our first love is writing.

  13. I'm doing rewrites and not feeling very secure about them either.

  14. As you might have gotten from my birthday post, I'm similarly feeling no security in my life. Just being insecure about writing would be a comfort right now!

    Best wishes.

  15. My problem these days is I can't put writing first unless I get up at 4AM. That works for a while, but after about the third day, I'm slumped at my desk and my brain has stopped processing.

    We can't step out our door after dark without staring at those sparking raccoon eyes. So far they're quite compatible with the cat. Fingers crossed.

  16. "Tom" is adorable. :)

    While I would never advise anyone to write for the market, only a fool would ignore that mercurial beast. But you're absolutely right, our personal journey must be about the writing—the writing is the only piece of the puzzle we command. No good has ever come from fretting about that over which we have no control.

    VR Barkowski

  17. Sometimes when I'm feeling down about my writing, I remind myself that I love writing just for myself so there's no reason to stop.

  18. You're right; first and foremost, write for yourself. It can be stressful chasing publication, or when the writing business does start to feel like nothing but business, but you just need to keep reminding yourself why you started writing, and why you continue writing.

    Great picture; living in the UK, I will never get raccoons in my garden!

  19. Sorry you are having such a tough time right now. I would be terrified if I heard moving furniture on my deck and it wasn't a windy night. Cool photo though.

  20. Look at him! I hate it when the lighting is just all wrong and you can't capture the moment. Maybe they will come back when it's lighter.

  21. Thank so much for the reminder that the pleasure is in the writing! I needed to hear that. When I'm writing, I am in heaven. The only time I get mired down with the business of it all is during the marketing phase.

  22. Miranda, true, and you, too.

    Alex, exactly! It's why I write the story first and seek a market after instead of writing to a market.

    Madeline, thank you! It's been something I've needed to convince myself of.

    Cynthia, I agree 100%.

    Chrys, so true. Some of us have a hard time getting back to editing. ;)

    Lee, I also enjoyed writing essays. I need to figure out how to use that to start writing something along those lines again.

    Andrew, valid point. Wasn't there a famous musician who had a raccoon? Lennon?

    Shelly, oh no! We can't put our garbage out the night before because of bears, so we don't have to deal with the raccoons either.

    Diane, that sounds like a good way to get back into writing. Start having fun with it instead of worrying about making it work.

    Susan, they are certainly bandits. I've picked up the backyard since then so they can't carry anything away.

    Michelle, I'm glad that struck a chord.

    E.E., very true on the readers. We love our stories and want to share them, and that's where the business comes in.

    Lucinda, good luck with your rewrites.

    John, I feel you there. If only writing were the only thing I was feeling insecure about right now.

    Lee, I'm sorry your writing time is so limited right now. Those raccoons are way bigger than my cat, so no way I'm letting her near them!

    VR, good way to put it. Of course I continue to submit and watch the market. But I won't let it destroy the joy I derive from writing.

    Patricia, exactly!

    Angeline, I bet you get plenty of other critters in your garden, though!

    Rhonda, it was pretty darned freaky at first. Pretty sure I burned some calories from the adrenaline.

    L. Diane, I'd love to get a better photo of those little turkeys. They're so fast once I come out on the porch.

    Tia, marketing is such a rough part of it all. I attended a self-publishing workshop last night where he said writing the book was easy, editing and uploading the book was easy, but the marketing was the hard part.