Writing Wins and Woes: The Road Not Taken

Writing Wins and Woes: The Road Not Taken

I was thinking of the Robert Frost poem when I wrote this blog. We could have a whole discussion on whether Frost’s take on his taken road was positive or negative in his life but I think the main point is that whatever road you take it can turn out to be a life changing experience. Writing for me has certainly been that. I am so thankful to have taken this path. I am thankful despite the ups and frequent downs I’ve encountered because I write and because I submit. As writers we certainly do take a road less traveled on, although it doesn’t seem that way when you find out thousands of people have tried the same publisher you have.

Now for my best, most happy news. I have finally had a story accepted at Daily Science Fiction. This is by far the most prestigious of all my acceptances. I can’t tell you how excited I was when I received word that I had made round two. I didn’t share it on my blog because they let me know that half of those who make it that far don’t make it to final acceptance. But I have! Yay! So rejoice with me. If I can make it, so can you.

I don’t know when my story will be posted. Not for awhile I imagine. I haven’t yet received the contract or any edits, but when it is posted, I will certainly share the link.

I didn’t write this week. I didn’t submit this week either. I worked and I helped at our church’s Cooking Camp for kids. I really like doing this every year. It’s fun to see kids excited about cooking. I do love to cook but don’t get to do it as much anymore because I work a lot and I have to decide what I want to do most, and of course, that’s writing. My group made lasagna roll ups, chicken corn soup and barbeque. I had the best teen helper in the world, Michael, who has his own garden and greenhouse. He outshines me by far in cooking, and he’s only going into the eighth grade.

Next week I hope to tell you I’ve written something and submitted some things. Have a great week and much success in whatever you do.

Writing Wins and Woes: Shadow Land

Writing Wins and Woes: Shadow Land

I saw a movie once about C S Lewis called “Shadowlands”. It is a love story about Lewis and Joy Davidman. For those who haven’t seen it, Lewis is reluctant to marry and marries for convenience but later falls in love with Joy. Only three years into the marriage, she gets cancer and dies. This is a dark time in the life of Lewis, but he comes out of it victoriously.

Of course, all of that is meant to tell that we all enter times like this. We are in the “Shadowlands”. Life can be confusing, disorienting and dark, but in the midst of it all, we can find ourselves encountering just the thing that is going to be the impetus for change. Making us far better than we were previously. To stay the same is to stagnate.

So I’m changing. I’m learning, and I wrote this week, despite full time work, despite being tired, no, not tired, exhausted. It was only 450 words but it was words fought for and I’m proud of them. I’m keeping on my quest.

I submitted to Guardian Angel Kids and Dreaming Robot Press this week. I got a quick rejection from the latter for my middle grade fiction book. It’s discouraging because I really want to see it published. I’m not quitting, though.

Thought for the Day: Definition of a shadow: A dark shape produced by a body coming between rays of light and a surface. Light is coming.

Writing Wins and Woes: When Life is a Blur

Writing Wins and Woes: When Life is a Blur

I almost didn’t blog today. I didn’t want to. I felt discouraged, sad, tired and discontent. It was, after all, my first week of full time work. How does one have the energy to write at all when eight hours of your day are used up? Really, it only allows enough time for the basics of life.

What do you do when life is a blur?
1. You stop and breathe.
2. You allow yourself time.
3. You realize that you will adjust, or adapt if you are a Star Trek fan like me.
4. You keep a positive outlook.
5. You write when you can.

I don’t know when I’ll be able to write again, but I know I will write again. This too will pass. Things will eventually get better. When life is a blur, focus on what is important. If you don’t know what that is, make a list and evaluate or even re-evaluate. Then work on one small thing at a time.

I did manage to submit a couple of things this week to T. Gene Davis’ Speculative Blog and Spellbound. I also got a rejection this week from Unfettered. Even though I haven’t written anything this week, I’m moving forward even if my blurry focus makes me hit a few bumps in the road.

Writing Wins and Woes: The sky’s the Limit

Writing Wins and Woes: The sky's the Limit

Well, this is a quickie. I am always running behind since I started working. I plan and re-plan but always end up late. I liked this picture of the sky. Not only beautiful but limitless. That’s what writing is. Unlimited potential, as long as you keep on writing; keep on believing and keep on submitting. The pace can be fast or slow. It’s your call. You might say, I didn’t do enough writing this week. So what? Do more writing next week. Each step forward is still a step. I submitted to only one place this week, Enchanted Conversation, but I can work at it some more tomorrow or the next day or the next. The key is not to quit. So this week, when you’re writing, remember the sky’s the limit. Don’t stop dreaming.

Writing Wins and Woes: Don’t let clouds stop you from writing

Writer Wins and Woes: Don't let clouds stop you from writing

A cloudy day often stops many things. A picnic. A cook-out. A hike. Swimming. A walk with the dog. Clouds can burst into rain and so it deters us; but clouds can also break into bright sunshine. It’s all perspective. As a writer, I can’t let a few clouds in my way stop me from continuing on in my writer’s journey.

Shari’s Stats for May:
Submissions: 7
Rejections: 8
Acceptances: 2
Publications: 6 (this includes my author story and interview)

This week I’ve had two rejections. One from Youth Imagination and one from Enchanted Conversation. That was just a matter of not winning a contest. I also had a very nice email from Guardian Angel Kids, telling me they “love my work.” This is a reminder of why I’m in this for the long haul. There’s going to be some lovers and there’s going to be some haters. I submitted to two places this week. Guardian Angel Kids and SQ magazine. Check them out here if you’d like to submit to them as well.

Guardian Angel Kids is on my sidebar if you enjoy writing poems, stories or articles for kids.

Thought for the Day: Set a goal of writing for so many minutes each day. Even if it’s only 30 minutes per day. You can get a lot accomplished in 30 minutes if you are focused.

Writing Wins and Woes: What a writer’s house looks like

Writing Wins and Woes: What a writer's house looks like

I don’t know if I should have captioned this “What a writer’s house looks like” or “What a reader’s house looks like” but anyway, this is a painting my husband did of our bedroom. It does justice to the stacks of books “we” have accumulated because we are both readers. I am a writer, so I read. Writers should be readers. The only way to write well is to be well read. Studying great writers helps us to write great.

Hopefully your house, if you’re a writer, isn’t quite this bad, and maybe you have Kindle now and don’t need all this, but I think there is nothing so satisfying as holding a book in your hands. I have such contentment reading a book I love and feel such disappointment when it’s done. I can’t be involved in those character’s lives anymore. I usually go away wanting more.

As writers, we need to strive to make our characters come alive so our readers want more when the stories over. Hopefully, our audience isn’t saying, “Thank God, it’s over.” That’s a little private joke in our family, but it can be so true of a lousy book or story. We don’t even want to finish it. I’ve filed a few books into the round file.

Well, I didn’t submit a thing this week. It’s the first I haven’t in a while, but it was a very busy week, and I’ve had a few upsets. So…next week. I also got a rejection from Untied Shoelaces of the Mind. I know you’ve been waiting to hear how they raked me over the coals, but oddly, they didn’t say anything. Rejected, without a word. So I guess, it was even worse than usual.

Happy Memorial Day to all the veterans and service people out there. We appreciate all you’ve done and do. God bless everybody and here’s to good writing successes in your future. The odds are never in our favor, but we write on.

Thought for the Day: Build characters that live and breathe. And don’t collect as many books as we do.

Writing Wins and Woes: 50 Acceptances

Writing Wins and Woes: 50 Acceptances

Yes, this is me shamelessly promoting my cute incorrigible corgi again. Before you get a corgi, make sure you’re not too attached to your furniture. Mine likes to chew the stuffing out of mine; also she has been known to chew on the floor (hardwood and linoleum) shoes, books (including ones I’ve had stories in) and probably about fifty percent of my favorite things. As I’ve said in a bio, she keeps it real.
What else keeps it real for a writer? Well, rejections do. Like that lead in? Yes, I’ve had another rejection this week. My week isn’t complete without one. I’ve had a rejection from allegory, my eighth time submitting this particular story which I happen to love. Why doesn’t everybody love it like I do?
But I don’t want to focus on that. I’ve had a great month so far. My 50th acceptance came from the Photo Flash Contest. It was followed almost immediately by the Penn Cove literary Award, making it 51. I feel totally blessed. Here are some links to some of my accepted stories. Don’t feel you have to read them. I’m just proud.
Ashes to Ashes
Tree of Life
The Visitor
Beta Tribe
The Forgotten Smile

I’m stopping there. I’m so happy to say that there are many more.

Thought for the Day: Encourage yourself by looking back at your accomplishments. Then, move on to further greatness.

Writing Wins and Woes: During Winning Times

Writing Wins and Woes: During Winning Times

Again, I am cheerleading for my husband. This painting is actually a mural on our living room wall, which is still a work in progress for him. This wintry scene is a story in itself. Viewers of it can lose themselves in the narrative of colonial-type settlers, carolers strolling in robes, horse and wagons, and one or two sci-fi elements thrown in because that’s what he likes to do with his paintings. Enjoy.

I’m pleased to announce that I had two more publications since I wrote last. I am still reeling in my blessings this week. One was for the Photo Flash contest and the other was for the Penn Cove literary Arts Award. Here are the links for both.

These are both flash stories, very short, so please read, enjoy and comment. Writers love feedback.

Also, I want to include the link for my author interview on Strange Musings, concerning my story in the anthology, Alternate Hilarities. I loved answering the questions about how I came to write the story and other pieces of writing trivia.

All this is very exciting. So here is some words of advice for the those few and far between winning times.
1. Enjoy the win. That’s first. Sometimes we worry about what’s coming next when we’re on a winning roll. Will there be ten more rejections that follow? Probably. But enjoy the win while you have it.
2.Keep writing. It’s also easy to rest and bask in your win and not move forward. Don’t do that. Staying stagnant is moving backwards. Keep on writing and submitting.
3. Take advantage of opportunities to toot your horn. Publicity is great for gaining readership and moving toward bigger publications. Don’t be afraid to do that or too humble to do that. It is stepping in time toward your goal of achieving in your writing profession. This is your job if you are a writer. Don’t let people tell you you’re being proud, or don’t tell yourself that. If you want to be a successful writer, you have to advertise.
4. Be prepared for rejections. I have to say it. I know when I succeed, failure is just a step behind me, sometimes half a step. Don’t get discouraged. It’s also part of the process. They’re not failures; they’re lessons to help you write better next time. Any publisher will tell you you’re story is probably not a total flop, at least most will, it’s just competing with many others. This time your story didn’t make it. Next time it may. In my early writing days, a few rejections kept me from submitting. I didn’t want to open myself up to such criticisms of what was more than my writing; more like a part of me. Every writer feels that way. You’ll wound and you’ll have scar tissue but you’ll heal and you’ll be stronger.
5. Don’t quit. That’s a funny thing to say when you’ve just succeeded in winning, but some people say, Okay, I’ve done it. I’ve accomplished my goal. I resign. Don’t resign. Keep going. Some of the best writers did that. Need I say, To Kill a Mockingbird. The best is yet to come.

I need to say to those who aren’t in winning times right now, I did have two rejections this week as well–Timeless Tales and Knowonder! and Guess what? They both hurt. Rejections sting, but I’m moving on. You move on, too.

Writing Wins and Woes: Happy May

Writing Wins and Woes: Happy May

May is starting out great and maybe not so much, but I am happy. Again, I am privileged to have a story in Guardian Angel Kids, the unusual art issue and this time it comes with a bonus. A drawing by my talented daughter.

I also had a win for the monthly contest at Enchanted Conversation, a fairy tale magazine. I will post the link when the story is up. Melinda, you’ll be very pleased that the story chosen was “Cell Tower”.

With such good news, I hate to dampen the mood with news of a rejection as well from Youth ‘magination for a story I personally liked but felt like a rough draft to them. I might work on it and submit elsewhere but I don’t know too many other places that publish YA stories anymore.

I submitted to Youth ‘magination and Untied Shoelaces this week. Yes, I’m barking up that old tree again. I’ll let you know the humiliation when it’s received. For those just tuning in, that particular publisher tends to really pour on the criticism. the last one I received for Monkey Shines, a story that Alternate hilarities liked, read that “she didn’t laugh even once” while reading it. Thank you very much. Yet, I keep sending humorous stories to them. I am such a glutton for punishment.

Thought for the day: I guess I have to say it, even though I have a rough time practicing it. Roll with the Punches. When you win, it is exhilaration. When you lose, it is despondence. Don’t let it stop you. Keep on punching.

Writing Wins and Woes: April’s stats

Writing Wins and Woes: April's stats

I have to say it’s good to be back doing my regular blog again. I really enjoyed doing Paint Splashes but it’s nice to be able to say my own thing once more and be back in the groove, sharing my writing wrecks and triumphs, even if the triumphs are few and far between and the wrecks are numerous. If I was a vehicle, I’d be non-salvageable by now.

On with April’s stats:

Submissions: 8
Rejections: 1
Acceptances: 1
Month’s Que (still waiting): 7
Waiting from other months: 8
Publications: 1
Places submitted to this month: UFO, Enchanted Conversation, Photo Flare Contest, Penn Cove, Unfettered, Knowonder!, Guardian Angel Kids and Daily Science Fiction.

Now, for some excitement. The anthology I am a part of is out! You can read it for free, if you have Amazon prime, in digital form, or you can purchase the digital copy for $2.99, or the print version for a little more than $10. Here is the link:

Other exciting news: I have an author interview coming out on May 6th with Strange Musings Press, who published the anthology. I will include the link when it is out.
I also have my author story being published at Flash Fiction Chronicles on May 20th. I will include a link to that as well. May will be a fabulous month for me!

Unfortunately, my writing has slacked off a bit. I’m ¬†working more hours this month and am a bit frenzied, but I need to step up to the plate and keep batting. Good things are happening. I’ll keep you posted.

Thought for the Day: Share your writing story with someone else and encourage them. Good writing friends are inspirational.

Thanks for continuing to read my blog. I appreciate all who do. Share this blog with others, if you please. I’d be grateful.