Monthly Archives: May 2012
If you’ve ever used Duotrope’s Digest to find a market for your work, you’ll notice that beside the name of some markets they’ve put the word “fledgling”. The word indicates that the market is less than six months old. Six months is used as the marker because most new markets fold within the first six months.
Today I’ve gathered three new markets that would love to see your work and will even pay you for it.
Specutopia is a brand new magazine looking for only the best speculative fiction. Their definition of speculative fiction includes science fiction, fantasy and everything in between, but doesn’t include horror. If they like your work, they’ll pay you one cent per word. They’d like to pay you more, but starting up a magazine, even electronically, costs money and they need to pay for their bandwidth. Oh well.
Abomination Magazine is a slightly less new magazine that, unlike Specutopia, would love some horror stories. In fact, they’d prefer you to scare their pants off. So much so that they won’t accept your story if it doesn’t scare them. However, they’re still only going to pay you one cent per word because they’re broke too.
Fantastic Frontiers Magazine I think this is the oldest one on today’s list, and this market is also the highest paying. They’d like to see your fantasy and science fiction stories of up to 2,000 words. Unlike the other guys, they had some proper money to get themselves started, so they’re willing to pay you three cents per word instead of one. Don’t you feel like you’re moving up in the world? Well, that’s only if they like your work.
Don’t forget to keep submitting your work. Every time you get a rejection, send that story back out. Every time you get depressed, write something new and send it out. The only way to get published more is by writing, editing and submitting more. Quite a number of writers spend months working on the writing and editing part and never get to the submission part. Start submitting now, and you’re one step ahead of all of them.
Not long after my dad died, my grandmother gave me a book called ‘Soul Catcher’. A ‘Soul Catcher’ is like a dream catcher, but for the soul. It’s a journal full of inspiring pictures and prompts designed to help you find yourself and escape depression.
While I never really used the ‘Soul Catcher’ for its original purpose, I can’t forget that book. What I can’t forget about the book is the story of the woman who wrote it. She talks about how she reached her professional goals and wrote prolifically for the public on a number of subjects, but that her own writing, her journalling, grew more tortured even as she gained more success.
She reached the darkest part of her depression one day when she uprooted herself, moved to a small apartment in a new country, and went on a journey–through journals and crude art therapy–to find herself.
As a pre-teen suffering from severe depression, I latched on to that story. I still struggle with depression every day, and during my struggles, I often think of the ‘Soul Catcher’ and the story it contains.
Ever since I read that book, I’ve also prayed that I’d never need to isolate myself in a foreign country to figure out what my path in life is supposed to be. I often ask myself “how do I stop myself from getting that deep into my depression?”
Over the years I’ve come up with a number of ways to help alleviate the depression I suffer from. Some of them are fairly common methods, others are more unique to me. Today I’d like to share some with you, in the hopes that it will help you in your own dark times.
1. Don’t forget to write for yourself. We’ve all written things for other people. Whether they be home made greeting cards for our friends, love notes for our dates, reports for our bosses, or stories written as gifts for the people we love, they’re there. And while this is writing, and does count towards the goal of writing every day, it’s not writing for yourself.
As I’ve started to earn money as a writer and to work for the Penumbra blog, I’ve learned a lesson about this. We must not forget the projects we love. Writing ten blog posts for some company trying to market themselves might pay the bills, but it won’t soothe your soul. Don’t completely abandon your life-long novel project for paid work. Visit it every day, even if all you do is write a sentence.
This includes journalling too. It’s okay to journal every day. It’s also okay to journal sporadically. Whatever your preference, don’t forget about it. Your journal is your best friend when you’re suffering from depression, because no matter what you say, it won’t judge you.
2. Remember to go outside. As writers, our passion–and for some lucky folks, their job–involves a lot of sitting alone with a notebook or a computer. You might be an introvert, but isolating yourself from the outside world usually doesn’t make you happier. Note that I’m not saying that you need to talk to people.
What I’m saying is go outside. Go for a walk. Find a nice tree in a park to sit underneath and listen to the birds. You’ll soak up some vitamin D, which I’m told makes us happier, and you’ll get some exercise, which I’m also told makes us happier. The sounds of the birds always help cheer me up, and the change of scenery might just inspire you too.
3. Make time for the things you love. I talk a lot about how to make time for your writing, but I’m sure writing isn’t the only thing you love. We can’t just spend all our time working and writing. For one thing, we need time to read. And we all have other hobbies. I like to dance, and even if it’s only once a month or even every two months, I make sure I get to go out dancing. Some of us play video games. Some writers like to knit or sew. Others like to cook. Still others like to garden.
Make sure that you have time for these things you love. Depriving yourself of the things you love is the quickest path to depression. So don’t start. Tonight, take time to do one thing you love–I guarantee you’ll feel better for it.
4. Don’t over commit. There are only 24 hours in a day. We all get THE SAME AMOUNT OF TIME. We all work at different paces, so we can get different amounts of stuff done in that twenty-four hours, but there’s only so much even the fastest of us can do. I’m really bad for this, especially with writing projects. I go, hey, I have a really high WPM, I can write a novel in three days, I can write this article and this one and three blog posts for next week and start my next edit of my novel all in one day.
Then I discover I can’t, and I get mopey because I didn’t do everything I wanted to do on a specific day. This is what we call setting ourselves up for failure. I do this all the time, and I know it’s one of my main sources of depression, but I’m always working on it and trying to really assess what I can accomplish in a day. Don’t set yourself up for failure: figure out what you can realistically accomplish in a day without burning yourself out, and limit yourself to that amount of work.
5. Reward yourself for small accomplishments. One of the main reasons why I think most people get depressed is because they don’t realize how major what they’ve accomplished is. Even small accomplishments deserve recognition. Some days accomplishments mean more than others.
So, if you’re struggling to write a single word and you get a whole page down, reward yourself. They tell me the sugary treats lead to more guilt later, so reward yourself with a cool drink and some relaxation time. If you managed to diffuse a tense situation, give yourself a pat on the back. If all you did today was get to work on time, work until the set time, and leave when you were supposed to, that’s still something worth rewarding yourself.
You should always reward your small accomplishments and remember to be proud of them, too, not just the big things like getting your masters degree, but the small things like each individual essay you wrote to get that masters. Remembering these things when your depressed can help remind you that you are an awesome person, full of talent and with many gifts to give to the world.
Most importantly, remember that these tips aren’t just for when you’re feeling down. If you take the time to treat yourself nicely and to enjoy the things you love even when your life is great and you’re happy, it will be easier to remember these things when you’re depressed–and it might even stop you from getting depressed in the first place.
How do you take care of your mental health?
Sometimes, life gets in the way of our writing. Some days, it’s all we can do to write a sentence. We have friends, lovers, families that all expect something from us. We are human, and like all other humans, sometimes our bodies break down and make it more difficult to focus on anything, let alone our writing.
Most of us also have day jobs or school to deal with, and how much time we have to devote to these things can vary from week to week.
Today I’d like you to do some introspection. Rather than discovering your characters, today I’d like you to discover yourself. And rather than prose, today I’d like you to make a list. A list that, I hope, will help you re-examine your life and find more time for writing.
Make a list of all the things that stop you from writing.
My first three:
1. School–This is the biggest time suck I’m dealing with right now. Not only am I expected to spend something like six hours a day on the premises, I’m expected to take work home with me and do it there. It’s frustrating, but, like the day jobs many of you hold, it’s something I have to do. I’d love to spend my whole day writing, every day, but I expect that after I graduate I’ll have to find one of those day jobs too. It’s a shame.
2. Friends–I have a lot of friends. Actually, I have a ridiculous number of friends. I have enough friends that I can barely keep track of them. Most of them don’t interfere with my writing time too much, but the sheer number of people I’m expected to keep in touch with take up quite a bit of time. I’m also the kind of person that will go to great lengths to help a friend–and sometimes I have to remind myself that my writing is at least as important as my friendships.
3. Email–No, seriously. I mean, most of my email is writing-related, but there’s just so much of it. I’m not even famous and I get about a hundred emails a day. I don’t read them all, but it still takes me an hour and a half to get through them. The amount of time I’ll have to devote to email when I actually do get famous is terrifying.
What stops you from writing? Please share your first three obstacles to writing in the comments.
It’s somewhat sad how many literary magazines close after six months, a year, five years because of financial constraints or health problems in the people who run them. As I’m digging through a very old list of markets looking for a couple to share with you, I’ve discovered quite a number of these now-closed magazines. Some of them have kept their websites; others have sold their domains and moved on to bigger and better things–or at least we hope they’ve moved on to bigger and better things.
Luckily, there are new magazines appearing all the time, especially eMagazines like Penumbra, which give us both a place to send our work and an enjoyable reading experience.
Today, however, I’d like to share with you a couple magazines that have withstood the test of time:
Ramble Underground Doesn’t pay very much, only $15 for fiction of up to 4000 words, but the layout’s pretty and they’ve been around since 2008. They show no signs of stopping production any time soon, so your manuscript is safe with them.
The Threepenny Review I’m not too sure how long this magazine’s been out, but they don’t seem to be hurting for money and they’ll pay you more than twice as much as Ramble Underground. They pay $200-400 for pieces depending on length and quality, and they look like they’re in it for the long haul.
The Sun Magazine Has nothing to do with the Sun newspaper in Toronto, and is the oldest market on the list. They’re been publishing poetry, essays, commentary and short fiction since 1974. And they pay over $300 for fiction. This is a market to dream about seeing your name in someday.
I hope that you’ll consider submitting to at least one of these markets. Remember that we all have a story worth telling and that the world will never see our stories unless we submit them–but don’t forget to edit and polish your work before sending it off for judgement.
What was the last market you submitted a story to?