Wednesday, July 19, 2017

In a Rut? Change it Up

Recently, I got myself into a bit of a rut. I wasn't finishing the short stories I was starting. I didn't feel like editing. Was it perhaps a summer rut? Too many other things to do? Or just plain boredom.

I can't answer those questions, but I can say that I broke the rut by changing things up. I get the Authors Publish Magazine e-newsletter, which comes with a weekly issue including a listing of themed publications closing soon. One theme caught my eye, so I committed myself to a Saturday of writing until I'd finished the short story to their specifications.

Over the course of several hours, I wrote a 6000 word short story to the theme. I set it aside for a couple days before editing (the deadline was coming up, so I didn't have much time to leave it.) Then I submitted it!

I've now done this for five weeks, and I got my writing mojo back. Whatever the reason for the blah attitude, I worked my way through it.

This exact solution may not work for you, but others might. Take a photography break, draw, do a logic puzzle, read a book instead of writing one for awhile, dance, listen to music, lie out in the sun. Figure out what kind of break you need. Or find out how to change up what you're doing to bring some creativity back into it.

For me, it was probably the fact that it's summer, and I tend to want to be outdoors whenever possible. By doing the short story in a few hours, I freed up the rest of my Saturday, and made it so I wouldn't feel guilty if I did other things during the week. If you can figure out your actual issue, it will be easier to find a solution. But if you can't, no worries. Just find something that challenges you or helps you relax away from whatever else is going on. I'm always a fan of a challenge.

Now for some links (adding these late). Bear in mind that I'm merely passing along links I have happened across, not endorsing them. Always do your own due diligence before submitting.

Accepting Submissions:

Ladybug is looking for children's fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and activities with the theme Our World. Ages 3-6. Up to 800 words. Pays up to $.25/word. Deadline for this theme is July 31.

Spider is looking for children's fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and activities with the theme Fantastic Fantasy Beasts. Ages 6-9. Up to 1000 words. Pays up to $.25/word. Deadline for this theme is July 31.

Black Beacon Books is looking for short horror and mystery for their anthology Shelter From the Storm. 3500 to 7000 words. Pays .01 pounds per word. Deadline July 31.

NonBinary Review is looking for poetry, fiction, and essays with the theme The Tales of Hans Christian Anderson. Up to 1000 words. Pays $.01/word. Deadline July 31.

Upper Rubber Boot Books is looking for short dark speculative stories for their anthology Sharp & Sugar Tooth: Women Up to No Good. Must be an element of horror. Must be about women and something culinary. Authors must be female, non-binary, or other marginalized sex or gender identity. Up to 5000 words. Pays $.06/word. Deadline July 31.

Empyreome is looking for short speculative fiction. Prefer fantasy and science fiction. Up to 10,000 words. Pays $.0025/word. Deadline July 31.

What do you do to get out of a rut? Or writer's block? Does the same thing work each time, or do you have to try something different? Any of these links of interest? Anything to share?

May you find your Muse.

Bored Avatar, by OCAL,
Dancer, by OCAL,

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.