Butterfly & flower, zhangkaiyv

Writing over the last month

I tried something new that lasted just over half of August. I woke up half an hour earlier than usual and, after getting ready for work, I wrote for 15-20 minutes before I left. Over the 19 days that I sustained it, I averaged 230 words per day, never wrote less than 100 words a day, and hit 4,368 words. Before the end of the month, I wrote on one more day, in order to finish a short story that I had promised to send to my writing group for critique, so my monthly grand total was 5,076 words. That’s pretty much a 100% increase in writing totals over the 3-4 months prior to August.

In total, I wrote 7 poems (yes, poems, me!) and a complete short story. I’m hoping to spend some time revising those pieces before I find somewhere to submit them.

That’s the other thing I’ve focused on over the last month and a half. I started submitting short fiction to places with both online and print offerings. I’d done it now and again before, in particular with all of the big science-fiction magazines, to no success. (Not that I’m surprised – I didn’t expect to get accepted somewhere like that, though when the first one returned with a personal rejection explaining their disappointment in the ending, I did think changing the ending and submitting elsewhere might bring about an acceptance. Alas, it did not.) I pay for duotrope and was rarely using it, so I’m trying to get better about it.

I have several submissions out, and I’m hopeful. I’m hopeful because – and here’s the great news to share! – I had a piece of flash fiction accepted at Ghost Parachute!! It will be in the October issue, which is out October 1. I have to admit that when I received the email, I expected another rejection. How excited and, well, elated was I to see that it was, in fact, an acceptance! Ghost Parachute features a new piece of artwork for each story and I can’t wait to see what they were inspired by with my piece.

Additionally, while I don’t query agents with much regularity anymore, I do send one off when I see an agent with a #MSWL or something else that I believe fits really well with one of my projects. (Of course, I’ve had agents say specifically that they “would love a summer camp romance,” sent them The Rules of Summer Camp, and received a form “this isn’t for me” rejection, so I don’t usually have much faith in #MSWL asks.) But an agent whom I really like posted recently about “geeky hobbies” in an ask, so I sent First to Find off to her and she requested a full! I’m excited to have her read it and need to tell myself continually to be optimistic and hopeful, since over the last few years my mood with regards to finding an agent has been rather nihilistic. It feels good to have a request like that after so many query form rejections.

All this to say that after months, many months, of feeling defeated and uninterested when it comes to writing (not that that’s been eliminated from my brain and life entirely), I’m feeling better about what I can do, what I’ve done, and have hope for what I will do.

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