My First Short Story Submission


We all learn lessons in life. Some stick, some don’t. I have always learned more from rejection and failure than from acceptance and success. – Henry Rollins

As I get more serious about writing, I desire to share my stories with readers. Moving from entertaining family and myself to a more polished work of fiction with the intention of publishing for others to hopefully enjoy. With that in mind, I have just finished my first short story which I have submitted this week to Strange Horizons magazine. I chose Strange Horizons as my initial source based on what they do and don’t want:

We want good speculative fiction. If your story doesn’t have a speculative element, or strong speculative-fiction sensibilities, it’s probably not for us.

As my first submission of writing, and I am very excited but trying to manage my expectations at the same time. I realize rejection is likely, and I am okay with that prospect. I only revised my previous stories once, since it was for me and maybe those close to me; with this story, I made multiple edits/revisions based on Grammarly feedback (since grammar is not my strongest skill) and beta reader input. I used to find the revision process quite tedious, so I skipped it based on the final audience. This time I enjoyed the revision process, knowing my end goal of exposing myself to a greater audience of readers.

I so want to share my story right now (stomps my inner child), but most magazines will not accept previously published stories, to my surprise, as a newbie, this includes self-publishing on a blog. How long will it be before my short story titled Executive Order 2018211316 sees the light of day? The submission system showed my position in the cue as 398, and that it was an average of 18 days to reply. My research shows this is a relatively brief period to receive a reply, but my wild imagination is hyperdrive, and my anticipation is pushing my short patience to near eruption.

Being honest, I am battling self-doubt in regards to this submission. Is it good enough? They won’t like it. Etc. I hope they offer feedback, but that is hopeful thinking according to their submission guidelines. In the meantime, I am researching and lining up other magazines to submit my dystopian – alt reality short story. I’ll work through this process a handful of times, and if it fails to be accepted, then I’ll fall back to publishing it on my blog. I enjoyed writing it, so I am sure someone out there will enjoy reading it (besides my wife and children).

I am now working on another short story and outlining my first novel which will be a part of a dystopian-thriller trilogy.

It’s a Habit!


Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself. – Mark Twain

It has been just over a month since I joined the ranks of the unemployed. I wish I could say it has been joyous, but I am not the type to sit at home. That said, I had a great time with the family vacationing in Michigan, but since I have returned home, I have been mostly job hunting. What a drag! There is a silver lining though, I have had time to write every day consistently. Which was my primary writing objective for July, forming the habit of writing every day.

My initial plan, to build the writing habit, was to get it out of the way first thing in the morning. That ended up not being practical within the confines of my family obligations and lifestyle. I revised the goal to ‘write as soon as you can’ each day, and that has tended to work better.

Another part of the initial writing goal involved the metric of writing 1,000 words a day or at least an hour a day. Unfortunately, that didn’t work well either, and frankly, it took much of the fun out of writing. I could see that working better (though probably involving higher word counts) if writing is your job or primary source of income. It is not in my case. Again I revised the goal, with the desire to make the goal something I would consistently achieve, to make a habit of writing daily.

Ninety-nine percent of the failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses. – George Washington Carver

The goal has been revised to read, “Write every day, as soon as you can, and as often as you can during the day.” That takes the pressure (guilt) of not getting to it right away, but the priority is still there to get it done before doing other items that can wait. There were days I only wrote a couple of hundred words or wrote for 15 minutes. Days like when I was traveling with the family, but I still made the time to write. Other days, I had several hours and was able to write a couple of thousand words. Most days I was able to write with my morning coffee, and other days it was the last thing I did before going to bed. This goal is working well for me. I look forward to my daily writing time. It is like a reward. I am proud to say, I have accomplished my goal every day over the last month.

I can confidently claim writing is a daily habit.