rejection, submissions, Writing


There are a lot of services out there for writers, and one of the ones you may have seen floating about (or not!) is Duotrope. Duotrope is a website for writers and editors that facilitates finding markets to send your fiction, and tracking your fiction submissions. It has one of the most comprehensive lists of genre markets I’ve found online, compared to other sites that piecemeal lists of magazines, anthologies, and contests. It provides statistical analysis of your writing submissions, how long certain markets took to respond, whether you received an acceptance or a rejection, and how often you’ve sent submissions to a specific market, among other metrics.

I came across Duotrope years ago, probably in my earliest attempts to start submitting fiction, along with, which was my primary go-to. is a great alternative, because it’s free, and pretty up-to-date, and Ralan does a solid job of curating his list, which means you don’t get a lot of tiny, just-for-exposure markets cluttering up his site. He organizes by pay-scale (Pro, Semi, Pay) and additional market type (antho, books). Having worked with him from the magazine end back in the days of The Zombie Feed, I can say he’s rather cranky, but fair, and he didn’t give me too much trouble when we had to update a listing. Duotrope is more hands-off, submit a form, get it approved type deal. Ralan’s got a personal touch.

The catch with Duotrope is that it requires subscription, if you want to get beyond the week-long free trial. You can subscribe for $5/month or $50/year, the latter thereby saving you a month’s subscription fee for the upfront cost. For years, I would dip into Duotrope for a couple months, pay the $5 on a when-I-need-it basis in order to get access to their search feature (truly one of the exemplary elements of Duotrope is their searchability based on genre, length, pay-rate, and title (if you’re looking for a specific market)), and then dip out again. For years, it really wasn’t worth it to me to pay $50/year just to have a searchable market list. Ralan’s could pretty much serve my searching purposes, provided I didn’t mind scanning the black-background/white text website, and I’ve had plenty of luck finding good markets via his lists.

But then something changed. I actually started submitting. Before, I might submit one or two stories a year and really helicopter-mom them: I’d fret over them and wait, and wait, and wait, and query when necessary, and it was easy enough to track them from market to market and not get into trouble by accidentally resending a story to a market that had already rejected it. But a couple years ago, I started really submitting. In 2019, I had over nine stories out for submission at any given time, and let me tell you, that will mess with your mind. It’s like juggling: sometimes Story 3 that just come back will be perfect for X market, but you’ve already got Story 5 story at X market (for the past 40 days), and you need to query X market to see if Story 5 is still being reviewed, if it got bumped to a shortlist, or if they never received it and/or it got lost, and X market requires you to wait 7-10 days before submitting a new story, so… If you’re at all like me, beyond two stories, the multiple moving parts start getting impossible to keep track of efficiently. Stories come back rejected, but you forget about them because the next market on the list for them is currently occupied, or temporarily closed to submissions, or has a please-wait-after-rejection clause, so it languishes un-submitted, and then seven months later, you’re like OH CRAP, I could have had this out months ago…

I used to track my fiction entirely by hand, which worked for a while. I’d write a list of markets, their expected response times, and pay-grade in one column, and then rank them by priority, often considering which market might be the best fit (if not always the #1 best paying) for a given story. Today, this is what my hand-written tracking notebook looks like (which I still use and update as I submit, but being a hardcopy, it’s not easily searchable, and things get lost in the pages):

Scribbling, chaotic, multi-color notes.

Each story you put out there becomes its own vector for complexity, and if you don’t have a very, very good system for keeping track of what’s submitted/on-hold/rejected/accepted/lost, it’s going to be nearly impossible to be efficient about deciding where Story 9 goes when it’s ready to launch.

THIS is when I recommend spending the $5/mo on Duotrope.

My favorite feature of Duotrope is their submissions tracker. It keeps a record of your submittable stories (title, length, genre, sub-genre), and a record of every market you’ve tried that story at. Each time you submit, you just jump on Duotrope, add a new submission to the tracker, and voila-! It keeps track of a market’s expected response time (how long they say it’ll take), average response time (how long it has actually taken for other submitters), and when to expect a response. It will highlight a submission’s wait-time in red text if you’ve waited longer than the average time and might need to query. It will generate lists of where each submission has gone already, what it’s responses were, and whether it made a market’s shortlist. This, I find, is the most invaluable element of Duotrope, because it makes it easy to see a list of your current submissions and their various statuses all in one glance.

I still utilitze often, because sometimes he gets faster tips from writers about market changes than Duotrope does (for example, if a favorite market is looking to start back up again, he may put a note on that listing), but Duotrope is my second brain for all submissions. I’ve yet to come across a market that was listed on Ralan that wasn’t listed on Duotrope also, but I like to cross-reference, and Ralan’s notes on a market can be helpful in deciding if it’s a worthy market to try for. I also still utilize my paper method of tracking, mostly for a place to compile itineraries, and then jotting down any personal rejection notes. But for juggling more than two submissions, Duotrope is an absolute life-saver and has saved me a lot of confusion and embarrassment.

What’s more, at the end of the year, I can generate a report that shows all my submissions for the year, or all my personal rejections for a year, or all my acceptances, or all my rejections, and that really helps me track my progress from year to year. In fact, last year, I used Duotrope’s tracker to compare my submission rate from 2019 to my all-time best from almost a decade before, and thanks to those reports, got a much better and more realistic view of how I’m doing in my career than I would have had just trying to guesstimate.

SO! TL;DR: If you’re currently submitting more than two or three stories at a time to various markets, and are starting to find it challenging to keep track of them, I would highly recommend Duotrope. If you’re only submitting one or two stories a year, it’s probably not necessary yet. Get yourself a good notebook for tracking and make use of for some top-tier listings. Note: is a genre list, so it won’t have many purely literary markets.

P.S. – A word of warning: If you’re still heavily utilizing the Writer’s Market annual book and you’re writing primarily genre fiction: cross-check. Writer’s Market was great before the internet, but nowadays, it seems to be out-of-date almost the instant its released. Many genre markets (and well-paying ones!) are online-only, and their submissions periods can change without warning. Some markets that exist at the beginning of the year when WM is published aren’t even around by mid-year. I highly, highly recommend–if you do use WM–make sure to check accuracy with Duotrope or (or, better yet, the market itself!) before submitting. You’ll save yourself (and the editors you want to impress) a lot of headache!

baby, Daily Check-In, Journal

Surfacing at Last

Wow. What a last few months it’s been! From Mo*Con at the beginning of May, to the hubby’s graduation from med school (Hooray!!!), to the Little Man’s first birthday & meeting the awesome Gene O’Neill for root beer floats, to the Little Man’s FIRST STEPS, to moving into our new place in Mass, to car/driver’s license registration, orientation, health insurance swapping, and tack on a sick cat, a couple book formatting projects, a brief but tremendous spike in Etsy shop traffic & sales, and half a dozen plus rejections paired with a brand new story sale (still somewhat secret–woo!)–deep gasping breath: you can see the kind of month(s) it’s been.

Needless to say, I’m digging out and finally surfacing. Writing has been, predictably, pretty sporadic these last eight weeks. There’s been quite a bit of novel-rewrite prep-work, note carding/plotting/etc., but not much for new words. But! I’m already planning to start a six month Chekhov plan (a short story a week, so a total of 26 drafts) to build up my editable (and subsequently, submittable) inventory again. Having a rush of new words, without worrying about editing or changing or fixing–maybe just focusing on one or two problem areas I tend to have (gripping beginnings, interesting PoVs, that sort of thing)–really helps me clear out the creative pipes. More often than not, I find few stories out of the batch that I really, really love (and sometimes a lot more). If nothing else, it tends to get the cliché, boring, or stupid ideas out of my head that won’t go away and are clogging up the idea storage bin in my head.

But things are just beginning to settle down. For the month of July, I need to 1) finish some plotting work on a novel rewrite, 2) retype a problematic short story that I need reviewed by a few talented writer-friends (because I sure as heck have no idea how to fix it…), and 3) start a fun, relaxing, totally non-publishing-worried story for a friend who needs a pick-me-up (and am SO excited about just writing something for someone specific to make them happy). There are a ton of other projects in the wings, and I’ve got to read more, but–*le sigh*. One thing at a time, one day at a time. At least the Little Man’s starting to go down at night so well that I can usually get a couple of hours to myself in the evenings. I’m thinking: writing time! :D

Over and out…for now…


Daily Check-In, editing, journa, Writing

Small Victories

Today in Mommy-Land

Trying to get back on the blogging horse! This morning, Andy, the Little Man, and I went out with my good friend K— to breakfast at Parker’s Maple Barn (deeeeelicious). Little Man had tastes of pancake, non-spicy sausage, potato fries, and french toast, which he loved very much. While K— and I caught up, he and Andy walked around. My mother got him some itty bitty baby shoes with good soles on them, and now that he’s discovered walking outside (it’s been so beautiful, weather-wise lately!), he almost never wants to stop. He looks so big wearing shoes! Like a proper toddler, and not much of a baby at all.

Yesterday, we took him to the library park for the first time, and he rode on the baby swings (pretty fun), sat on a wobbly thing (with support–kind of fascinating), spun on a whirligig with Mom (okay, kinda weird), and slid down a slide with Daddy (NOT FUN AT ALL, WHY ARE YOU TORTURING MEEEEE?!) Then we went to Mine Falls in Nashua, and walked around for quite a while. It was so beautiful out, and it’s been spoiling me something rotten to have Andy around mid-week. We figure we’ll soak it up now, since come July, I probably won’t see him for a year. XD

We also bought a pint of kumquats to try, since we’ve always toyed with the idea of getting a kumquat plant, but weren’t sure if we’d like it. I’m pleased to report, we do! They’re very citrusy–like an orange-lemon combo–with quite a tart kick, but very sweet, edible rinds. I, personally, prefer to remove the rind, since it has a way of sticking around in my teeth after I’ve eaten it, but otherwise, they’re quite tasty.

Today in Writer-Land

As is always the case when Andy’s around these days, I didn’t get any writing done yesterday, though I did start the retyping of a short story I’m editing on Monday, so that’s making slow but measurable progress. I also found out that one of my short stories, “Snap,” is being held at a really nice little small press publication, so fingers crossed on that one! Got two other rejections yesterday and today (rawr…), but got them both resubmitted this afternoon (yay!).

In keeping with the title, my small victory is this: I counted my total rejections from 2014 and 2015 (so far), and last year I got a total of 19 rejections, and so far just within the first four months of 2015, I’ve gotten 21! Now, this may not seem like a victory, but it is, and I’ll tell you why: in previous years (prior to 2014), I’m not sure I even submitted fiction 19 times. So that’s Victory #1. And then on top of that, I’ve already topped my 2014 total submissions, so I’m doing better than last year!

Here’s a question: What metrics–writing-wise–do you find helpful to track/keep a record of?

I’ve determined I need to focus more on competing with myself when it comes to writing, rather than constantly measuring myself up against more successful authors. For one, it’s not a fair measurement, because I only see the good things going on for them, and oftentimes they’ve been in the field a lot longer than I have. For two, it takes the focus off the writing, which is really the only thing I have control over. So I’m doubling-down on self-awareness and trying to be mindful about the kinds of discouraging thoughts that pop into my head on a near-constant basis. I also want to start tracking my own process metrics (total submissions, for example). I’ve been considering metrics like personalized-to-form rejections ratio from markets I submit to often, maybe word count (though that’s tricky with editing, which is most of what I’m doing these days), maybe length of project (how long it takes from when I start a new story vs. if/when I finish editing and submit it), etc. So what works for you/what data do you find interesting to follow?

It's all about the Data...
It’s all about the Data…


Wrestling the Bull

Today in Mommy-Land

*Phew!* Missed the last couple days because the hubby was home for an extended weekend, but we all had fun hanging out. The weather has been so nice, we’ve actually gotten out for walks! The Little Man’s nap schedule is still somewhat holding, though Monday was a little disrupted due to being out and about running errands out and about.

He’s started babbling even more lately, stringing lots of syllables together in almost sentences. It’s terribly cute! The monster growling isn’t as common, though, so that’s kind of sad. It’s amazing how quickly he goes through these vocalization phases. Whispering one week, clicking his tongue the next, monster growls, crescendo’ing screeches–it’s always changing. But it is fascinating to watch. He’s also just learned how to open cabinets, and has been pulling out all the non-breakable things (as the breakable things are up on the table now…)

But it’s so nice having Andy home during the week, and not just on weekends! I can cope with long-distance if we have to, but when he’s home at night, it’s like I can breathe better. :)

Today in Writer-Land

After a fairly unproductive weekend and week-start, I actually got a lot done today! During the Little Man’s first nap (short, about 40 minutes), I managed to retype the first two scenes of the current WiP, editing/smoothing as I went. Once I type in the next three scenes, then I’ll be able to send it off to one member of my crack team of beta-readers for critique. If I can get that good to go by the end of the week, that’ll be great!

During the second nap (much longer, about 2.5 hours!), I did a bunch of brainstorming and research on the Porter Short Story Challenge, and I think I’ve got it pegged. Mwahahaha! Oh boy, this is gonna be wacky, but maybe somewhat funny. Talk about writers-writing-about-writers-writing-about-writing Russian-nesting-dolls meta. Madness!

I also dove back into the summary draft of a novel that’s been playing around in my head for the past several years. I’m really liking where it’s going, though I also feel a bit like I’m wrestling a bull–the plot is sort of under control, but it could so easily break out of my grip and run amok. So we’ll see where that goes. I only know I love writing novel rough drafts this way. It’s the closest I’ve ever come to capturing that eager creative rush from my youth. Who knows what it will come to, but for now, I’m just having fun. :)


Back to Square One

Today in Mommy-Land

I swear, every time I start to get a little confident in my mothering skills, the Little Man throws me for a loop. It’s a weekly occurrence, now. What worked last week doesn’t work anymore. That nap that started seeming routine and awesomely long? Yeah, that’s gone now. Copious reading time? Yeah, no. I’ve been picking away at the same book for the past month. *le sigh*

Also seem to have some kind of bug, which I so *don’t* need right now. Plus the hubby’s back to his long-distance rotation (hopefully his last, but who knows?), so there’s that mental adjustment, too.

Today in Writer-Land

Very little happened here today. May have mentally fixed a problem the 4th scene was having, may scrap a character trait that–upon rewrite–feels a bit too forced. Over the weekend listed three important changes to make to the already rewritten portion, but haven’t implemented them yet.

I realize now that I have a tendency to try to change too much of the original story, which is a basic editing skills problem. Lately, I feel like I’ve jumped to a new level of development in my writing, only to realize I know *nothing* about writing. Ugh. I guess it’s good, but it sure is frustrating.

Also, my current year’s goals, in view of mobile baby, are looking pretty challenging to hit… *rawr*

baby, editing, rejection, submissions, Writing

Hot Potato

Today in Mommy-Land

Pretty standard day here in Mommy-Land, though I’m feeling much less hoarder-ish since I got the massive pile of laundry all tidied up Sunday. The Little Man took two naps–one about an hour and a half long (not bad), and one short forty-minute nap (meh) in bed. My mother also had a few minutes, so she watched him for a half-hour before his nap, which allowed me to get a little writing work started.

Also divided up the Little Man’s toys into three bins in the hopes that cycling through them from one day to the next will hold more of his interest. He’s quite inquisitive, but he exhausts things so quickly! We’ll see if the bin rotation helps.

Today in Writer-Land

Rejected. Rejected, rejected, rejected! *cries* Actually, I’m not super upset, but you know how it goes. I was really hoping this one would happen, especially since it’d gotten pushed up the editorial chain of command. But I did get a very nice and encouraging rejection notice, which I definitely appreciate (…as I wallow in self-pity).

“It was really, really good, but no thanks!”

That said, I got it right back out again like a hot potato, so the infinite game continues! (Ouch! It burns! Submit! Submit! Submit!)

Also got 650+ words of the second scene started for this month’s rewrite. Took me quite a bit of time–rereading Sunday’s work–to get my shoulders into the story, but I suspect that’s just from yesterday’s heavy-duty brainstorming. It left me a bit fuzzy-headed. Ah well, there’s always tomorrow. :)


Dressed to… Well, Not Quite Shoes…

I’m going to try to keep this a bit more up-to-date on a day-by-day basis, if only to encourage myself to pay attention to the individual successes and triumphs of each day. Sometimes, being at home with the kiddo can make all the days blend together, and by the end of the week, I’m often left feeling like I haven’t accomplished or experienced anything. But the truth is, a lot happens and changes on a very small scale during this particularly chaotic time. So as an exercise for myself and my self-awareness, I’m going to try to pay attention to those little things and track them as much as possible, lest by Friday I forget the little wonders each day brings.

Today in Mommy-Land

I woke up today and decided that it was time: I’m going to try to get dressed like a normal person every morning. Now, this may sound at best like a really, reeeeeally silly little goal, and at worst like I’m a total slob most days, but it’s been complicated these past months by the Little Man being a horrendous spitter-upper. It’s only now, at almost eight months, that I can pretty much count on not being thrown up on 3-5 times every single day (and no, that’s not an exaggeration). There comes a point in a parent’s life where you realize that trying to wear clean clothes all the time is a waste of one very precious resource: sanity. And also water and electricity from running the washing machine two or three times a day just to keep myself clothed.

On top of this, I was in almost the best shape of my life prior to pregnancy, which means all of my old clothes aren’t even close to fitting, even having dropped a good deal of the baby weight I put on. Most of my closet consists now of tank-tops in a variety of colors and yoga pants. Considering the rapidity with which all of these got soiled for the past seven months, if I was wearing something mostly clean, I’d sleep in it, and just wear it the next day. Most clothes didn’t make it more than a couple of hours past wake-up time, and I’d end up changing quite regularly.

So today, I got up and put on jeans (maternity jeans still, since I haven’t quite gotten up the nerve to spend our limited cash on a new pair of larger pants, and/or admit that I probably just need to donate my old clothes since it’ll probably be a while ’til I can fit into them again), and an actual tee-shirt, and a sweater. I didn’t put on shoes, because 1) I’m not going anywhere, and 2) I think it’s a silly cultural rule (the “dress to shoes” thing comes from the clever, cleaning guru on the FlyLady website, if you’re wondering), myself preferring not to tread outside dirt all through the house.

It feels like quite an accomplishment, not only on my part to get dressed like a real human being, but also to realize that we’re moving–finally (*sobs with joy*)–out of the spit-up stage. The Little Man can still hork up a bit now and then, but nothing, nothing, nothing like he used to, and that’s a wonderful realization.

He’s also starting waving “goodnight”–not “goodbye” or “hello” yet, just “goodnight”–which is freakin’ adorable.

In Writer-Land

The Little Man took a rare and deeply appreciated two and a half hour nap, which let me get some serious brain-work done. I’ve selected my next story to edit and submit, and while I love it’s core, boy–it’s going to need a lot of work. Mega-rewrite work. I think it’ll be great once that’s done, but it’s going to take some blood, sweat, and tears. Over the weekend, I penciled out the plot fixes, and today I sat down and wrangled out the scene list. It took quite a bit longer than I expected–certain plot elements I’d wanted didn’t meld well with each other, and it took a lot of brain power to figure out what elements were necessary, verses just cool. But I think I’ve got it fixed up now, so hopefully tomorrow–nap permitting–I can get a chunk of new text down following that guideline.

Also heard Friday that a story of mine is on hold at one of my favorite little genre magazines, and am *so psyched* about that! Not holding my breath or anything, but *please please please please puh-leeeeeeeeeeze!* (Fingers crossed.)

In Other News

Not much other news today, other than that it’s snowing again. I think we’re supposed to get 10-14″ last I heard, and it looks like the new snowfall has already made up the melt, so we’re back to where we were after last Wednesday. We also discovered some snow fleas outside the back door, which were pretty interesting to watch! Otherwise, we’ve been watching too many episodes of Hoarders. At least it gets me motivated to clean and tidy up the place! :) That show was our go-to energizer on Sunday afternoons when we had to clean up the apartment, and boy, it can light a fire under us. I think we both recognize that there’s a tiiiiiiny bit of hoarder in us that we just have to keep in check. ^_^

Apex Magazine, Publishing/Editing, Slush Lesson, Writing

SLUSH LESSON: Voices on My Shoulder: The Inner Editor Vs. the Inner Critic 

(This was originally posted on the Apex Magazine blog back in December 2010.)

This is your brain: “I’m going to write that story I’ve had on my mind all weekend! It’ll be so fun!”

This is your brain on “inner editor”: “Wow, this is terrible. Is that even a word? There’s too much description, here. This is probably the worst thing I’ve ever written. The dialogue is clunky, the characters are flat, and nothing’s happening in the plot—why do I even bother? I should probably just give up.”

Any questions?

I’ve always been told that the inner editor in my head—described by so many how-to-write books as the arch nemesis of the writer—is an evil thing, best removed either entirely from the writing process, or at least compartmentalized into post-rough draft work. It’s a voice like Honest John’s, quietly whispering negativity into your ear, trying to make you slip off track and lose sight of your end goal. “Throw it away!” folks have told me; “Drown it out!” others have said. The overarching impression is that the inner editor is a no-good, washed-up, has-been jerk whose only real interest is to undermine your confidence and make you give up.

But I’ve always rebelled against the idea of completely shutting out the inner editor. I admit, I’m a bit of a contrarian. For me, re-reading a passage and deciding to rewrite it on the spot is part of my process, a guilty pleasure I rarely admitted to other writers for fear of being told—yet again—“You just have to tune that voice out or you’ll never finish.” The thing is, I know how to finish. I can complete a draft. What I struggle with is returning to a draft I’ve rushed myself through without respecting that slow, sinking dread I feel in my stomach when a scene or a character’s actions or passage of dialogue just doesn’t feel quite right.

Not everyone writes like this, and I’ll be the first to admit it’s slow and sometimes painful to edit as you go. Other writers I know are much more comfortable returning to edit a story they whipped out in a single go, and do a great job of working out the snarled knots they find to make a finished, polished draft. There are many ways to approach writing, I’ve found, and many authors who support different processes. I couldn’t deny that folks had a point about that quiet little voice that only comes out when I write: the inner voice also gives me a lot of crap, and can be very discouraging. So how should I think about the inner editor? Force for good? Or force for evil? Does the inner editor have any place in a rough draft?

This past weekend, I picked up a copy of Samuel R. Delany’s book about writing (subsequently titled, About Writing). While I was reading, I came across this statement:

If you’re going to say it, you must build up calluses against criticism—criticism from readers, from other writers, from reviewers, from editors, and from critics. Yes, praise is fine and fun. […] But the day-to-day diet, from others and, more important, from the little critic we all carry on our own shoulder, is a grim one. And it has to be so. (Delany, 108)

Prior to reading that statement, I had never thought of myself as having an inner critic. I knew I had an inner editor, but who was the inner critic? Both make me doubt myself, but are they different? Or are they the same?

I had also just finished reading his essay “On Doubts and Dreams,” included in About Writing, in which Delany had described that doubts are a good thing to have while writing. Doubts make you think, make you evaluate, make you question—sometimes rightly—parts of your work that aren’t really doing what they need to do. Or, in his words, (with the physical examples trimmed out): “Indeed, whenever you find yourself writing a cluttered, thin, or cliché sentence, you should doubt, and doubt seriously. […] What does this doubting mean? It means that a writer may just let any one of them stand. […] It means you don’t give any one of them the benefit of the doubt” (Delany, 98).

These contrasting reflections, tied together, opened up a perspective that works for me by dividing the two inner voices. The inner editor, as I’ve experienced her, is more like the editors I’ve met in real life, the ones who are well read, thoughtful, and offer encouragement as often as criticism. There’s no doubt that they question what you’ve put down, but they also don’t insist that you change something you want to keep. They respect you as the creative mind behind the work, and see themselves as a lens through which you can re-approach your writing with fresh eyes, to doubt some of those things you had left for granted, and ultimately consider their job to be making you—the writer—look better on the page. It’s a collaborative effort, not a combative one.

But then, I realized that my inner critic isn’t wholly my enemy either. Don’t get me wrong; she is a bitch. But she’s a bitch for my benefit. Her nasty little cut-downs, her eye-rolls, her snorts of disgust—they build up the calluses I need to survive getting my writing out of the desk drawer in public hands. Likewise, she reminds me with her outrageously false memories of a story being “brilliant” that even praise can be misleading. As a writer, it can be nearly impossible to know at first if a story is good or bad; the inner critic makes her snap judgments—“This is going to win a Nebula!” or “You should probably just stick this in the shredder now before anyone sees it…”—and it will be up to me and the inner editor later to determine if those statements have any merit.

Just thinking like that, I’ve started learning how to listen to the inner editor during a writing session—for my benefit—and tune out the inner critic, whose job is mostly to teach me to tune her out. Take the example I started with:

Wow, this is terrible. Is that even a word? There’s too much description, here. This is probably the worst thing I’ve ever written. The dialogue is clunky, the characters are flat, and nothing’s happening in the plot—why do I even bother? I should probably just give up.

I now see two voices in it, not one. One—the editor—is useful if only because she asks the questions I need to consider, though whether her questions should be acted upon is left to my judgment. The other one—the critic (in bold)—is a distraction I need to ignore. It’s left me much calmer in approaching my writing, because I can see both as good forces, if for different reasons.

Of course, this interpretation is my own, and probably doesn’t fit for everyone. What about you? Do you have an inner editor and an inner critic? Is there a difference? What’s your perspective?


April Doldrums

And just when the energy felt like it was surging back, the April Doldrums arrive to stunt everything. It’s something about this week, man–something I just can’t pin down. Maybe it was the long weekend. Maybe it was the two fleetingly beautiful 70 degree days, followed by clouds and rain and blah. <–That sounds likely, actually. 

It’s not that I haven’t gotten some things done. I did get the revised short story “Swallow” out again to the next market, and I *do* think the opening is better, so that’s something. And I *did* get my hour of writing work in today, and started Midnight Robber by Nalo Hopkinson, which has been on my to-read list since I attended a reading of hers at the University of Hawaii at Manoa back oh so long ago. (It’s delightful so far, thanks for asking.) 

Preggo-wise, things are going generally well. Had a check-up ultrasound last week due to a minor concern, but the baby’s doing good and is just the right size for what he should be at this point. Still, he moves and pushes out so much, I’m starting to wonder if you can develop claustrophobia in the womb. lol That all said, with the belly getting bigger and pushing up on the stomach comes heartburn, which has been just freakin’ delightful the past two days. Tums helps, and I’ve got some stronger stuff the doctor recommended if need be, but blech. 

Motivation to do anything at all is supremely low at the moment. I tricked myself into editing the latest short story, “The Mortal Coil,” for an hour by setting a 10 minute alarm on my phone (with the assumption that maybe by the time I hit 10 minutes, I could carry on with my natural tendency to want to finish specific tasks). It worked (thank goodness!), and I got some work done, but this run-through of editing has been much gentler than the run-through for “Swallow,” and I’m still not sure if that’s a good thing or not. I ended up cutting out 1700 words from “Swallow” over the editing process, but so far on this one, I’ve been much more lenient, and only cut out about 500. Still, I’m not totally convinced that this particular story needs as much cut out (it’s starting almost 2000 words shorter than “Swallow” initially was), and it feels rather whole in and of itself. 

I also realize that I write a lot of quiet, thoughtful stories that aren’t particularly action-y. Not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing in terms of possibility for sales, but I enjoy it, so I suppose that’s what matters. :) 

Wall-staring time! *stares blankly*