Wednesday, July 5, 2017

IWSG - Consider Yourself & Links

It's the first Wednesday of July, which means I need to get my behind in gear and do some fun stuff with my kids before summer's over.

Oh yeah, it also means it's time for the Insecure Writer's Support Group, created by Alex J. Cavanaugh.

All are welcome to join. We support each other in our insecurities. Just post the first Wednesday of the month and sign up on the list. Then be sure to bop around and visit other insecure writers.

Our co-hosts this month are Tamara Narayan, Pat Hatt, Patricia Lynne, Juneta Key, and Doreen McGettigan!

I've been in a slump for awhile that I'm finally coming out of. I was too busy, too tired, too depressed. I finally cut my losses and gave up a responsibility that had nothing to do with family or income, and it not only fixed the personal slump, but my writing one. It even improved some health issues. So what I want to talk about today is scrutinizing what you allow to weigh you down. It's hard to tell people no, and if you can't be everything to everyone, it can feel like you're letting people down. But at some point you have to look at what's best for you. For me, being stressed and overwhelmed, and constantly putting other people and responsibilities first, wasn't working anymore. Of course, I'm a mom, wife, sister, and daughter, and that means I have plenty of responsibilities that don't revolve around what's best for me. But the unimportant things, even though they meant something to me, too, needed to go for my health and well being. It's also better for my family, as they get more of my time and attention, too.

I see a lot of people who say they don't have the time or energy to write. Cutting out unnecessary responsibilities, ones that we keep because we feel like we owe it to someone, can help with that. A lot of the time, there's time, but no energy. Everyone has a finite amount of energy, and when it's all expended elsewhere, especially on something that doesn't make you happy, there's not enough left over for the things that do mean something or make you happy.

My recommendation is to step back and look at your time sucks. Day job, family, etc. are important (though there are probably a lot of people who could step back from some family responsibilities that aren't vital or important, as well), but there are often things outside of those categories that can be scaled back, if not cut entirely. Do yourself a favor and look into it if you're struggling.


My stats for the month of June:

7 submissions
2 acceptances (WOOHOO!) (1 due out this month, 1 in October)
6 rejections (1 especially nice one, with great feedback)
11 pieces currently on submission


Now for links. Bear in mind that I'm not endorsing any of these, merely passing them along. Always do your own due diligence before submitting.

Accepting Submissions:

Left Hand Publishers is seeking speculative fiction, mystery/thriller, western, and some literary fiction for their anthology Beautiful Lies, Painful Truths. 4000 to 8000 words. Pays $25 per story, plus contributor copy. Deadline July 28.

Blyant Publishing is seeking short stories for an anthology. The theme is Beginnings. 1000 to 2500 words. Paying market. Deadline July 30.

Carina Press is seeking royal themed romance novellas for an anthology. 25,000 to 40,000 words. Pays in royalties. Deadline July 30.

Franklin/Kerr Press is seeking science fiction for the anthology Into the Unknown. Must involve new worlds and civilizations. 2000 to 8000 words. Pays $5 per 1000 words, plus royalties, plus a contributor copy. Deadline July 30 or until filled.

VQR is seeking poetry, short fiction, and nonfiction. 2000 to 8000 words for fiction. Pays $200 to $1000. Reading period ends July 31.

Martian Migraine Press is seeking weird fiction for Chthonic: Weird Tales of Inner Earth. 1500 to 7000 words. Pays $.03CAD/word. Deadline July 31.

Room Magazine is seeking poetry, fiction, and art for a family secrets theme. Pays $50 to $150. Deadline July 31.

The Pulp Horror Book of Phobias is seeking horror stories involving a specific list of possible phobias. 4000 to 6000 words. Pays $50 plus an e-contributor copy. Deadline July 31.

Sirens Call Publications is seeking horror for Mental Ward: Stories From the Asylum. 4000 to 8000 words. Pays $25 plus a contributor copy. Deadline July 31.

What are your insecurities this month? When was the last time you stepped back and evaluated your responsibilities? How about the last time you put yourself first? Any submission news for the month? Any of these publications of interest? Anything to share?

May you find your Muse.


  1. Know when to say no! Yes, people often drain themselves needlessly on stuff that doesn't really matter or doesn't help them. You were wise to cut out what was doing you in.

  2. Yeah... With 4 kids and one on the way, I hear you about saying no. Actually, that was a lesson I learned while living in NYC. Before that I was a total pushover. Still am on occasion, but there comes a point where you have to push the pause button and rejuvenate. Here's to that wonderful little word!

  3. Congrats on the acceptances and everything else! This looks like a great amount of productive writing. I need to take a hard look at where my time is going and adjust. One thing would be to teach my darlings how to prepare their own breakfasts and lunches now that they are old enough to fix simple things. That would free up a nice chunk of time.

  4. Excellent reminder, Shannon, and I'm glad you're feeling better and out of your slump. :)

    Congrats on the acceptances!

  5. I recently had to make the same evaluation on my life and responsibilities due to my depression and stress. I'm hoping I'll be able to starting writing the last book in my series soon. It's been a struggle because of everything else.

  6. Good advice! I used to copyedit a newsletter but it was draining, boring work. My rule is that if I'm dreading something I don't absolutely need to do, I stop doing it.
    Congratulations on the acceptances!

  7. If it's something that fills you with dread and you're not getting anything from it, it's probably something you shouldn't be doing.

  8. Learning to say no was something I had to work on. I do need my sleep to function properly! =P Awesome post.

  9. Excellent advice. I did exactly what you did recently. I gave up something I liked but I needed the time for other things.

  10. Learning to say no is something a lot of people never learn. I've learned to say no by working my job--weighing the stress levels with pay will sometimes, for me, come out to the pay not seeming worth the stress.

  11. You know this is one of the pieces of advice that I had to learn. I still slip up every now and then but I know saying NO is good medicine. You free yourself and your burdens become lighter because you're not trying to save the world.
    All the best, my friend and keep submitting. You're my inspiration.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G at Everything Must Change

  12. If I could figure out what to cut out, I would.

  13. Hi Shannon - being able to say 'no' is really so important - but there are always little things we can eliminate to help ourselves ... good luck with having a bit more writing time now - and thanks for the links - cheers Hilary

  14. I'm so glad you got out of your writing slump and that things are going better for you. So important to focus on what's truly important and not what others think we should be doing. And yay for your acceptances!

  15. I'm glad you're coming out of it and learned to say no. It's a hard thing to do.

  16. You're right. We have to say No sometimes to save our time and, occasionally, our sanity. Congrats on your acceptances and thanks for the links.

  17. Keeping up with, and evaluating, market calls - preparing submissions - keeping track of submissions. I find them all quite time consuming, but a necessary part of the process.

    Thanks for the links and congrats on the acceptances!


    1. July IWSG: The Value of Critique and Feedback

  18. It's very hard for me to say no, so I can relate to this. Thanks for the advice! I'm glad you are feeling much better now and I hope you enjoy the rest of the summer with your kiddos.

  19. Time and energy, I can be difficult to find room in a busy schedule. But that's part of the fun and challenge too. I use a lot of my commute time to work to get reading and writing done.

  20. Great advice! Thanks for sharing...

  21. Way to go on those submissions, Shannon! Plus two acceptances. That's a heck of a deal.

  22. It is very true that we cannot be everything to everybody. Sometimes saying "no" to someone or something can mean saying "yes" to yourself and your personal needs.

  23. Glad to hear that you're coming out of a slump and that you've had two acceptances! Huge hurray.

  24. I know this feeling all too well. Lately I've been helping everyone around me, to the point to where I've been unable to do anything for myself. I've finally gotten the stones to say no, I can't help you anymore, and gotten back to writing. It feels like a giant weight's been lifted off of my keyboard. Cheers to you finding your own writing time and energy again, too!

  25. I've learned to be a little selfish with my time. It's hard but necessary.