Sifting Through the Crazy

Placing short stories is a bit of a pain. The market is simultaneously overwhelming and disappointing. On one hand, there seems to be countless magazines, ezines, literary blogs, etc. On the other, nothing quite matches up with what I write. Then you’ve got a choice among paid markets and unpaid. Cents per word or flat fees. Contributers copies or hearty thanks. Sifting through the pile is mind-numbing and, to me, a time suck. I realize I can’t get paid (in either real money or pride) if I don’t send my stuff out, but tracking, checking guidelines and open reading times, formatting per editor taste, squeezing word count down, up and sideways, etc. keeps me from what I really want to be (and should be) doing, which is writing the damn stories to begin with. So I tend to put off submitting. For quite a long time. Some of my stories have been sitting around for the better part of a year, waiting for the day when they’ll be dusted off and sent zipping through cyberspace. Ridiculous? Probably. But I just can’t find the motivation to submit weekly, or even monthly. My idiotic brain seems to think torturing myself for a couple weeks straight is better than spreading out the pain. So that’s what I’ve been doing as of late. And, let me tell ya, it’s frustrating. Oh how I wish someone could just do this for me.
I recently took a “class” on udemy for short story writing. I like to do things like that every so often just to see if I learn anything new. Ah who am I kidding? It’s probably mainly for procrastination. I could teach a master class in that.
So this class recommended finding a few markets (very few) that I enjoy, and writing purely for them. Word count, themes, story lines, everything. Packaged and wrapped in a nice little bow. Dull is what I call that, and it’s something I absolutely cannot do. I write what pops into my head. I can work with prompts and within word count, but the stuff I’m truly proud of is spawned from the deep recesses of my mind (my subconscious, whom I’ve dubbed ‘Wilma’) and the story ends where it ends. A logical business way to work? Definitely not. I guess I’m still trying to find a balance between the business side and the artistic side of this crazy, fickle industry.

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