Submissions to Major Magazines…
I flat believe that everyone writing short stories and who wants a writing career long term should get into the habit of sending short stories to major magazine markets. I have gone over the reasons may times. All upside when your stories start to hit.
And I have just assumed it was some fear thing that stopped writers from submissions of stories to major magazines. Fear caused by baseless critical voice issues that I just assume that if a writer can’t get past the fears, they will never be a long-term writer.
And I think all of the above is true still. No opinion change on my part.
But what I am hearing over the last year (and a couple times in letters about the challenge I suggested last night) started to bother me.
Now my challenge last night just assumed, in my own mind anyway, that a writer in the challenge would use stories they had already submitted and got back. My suggestion to write a couple a month was just a way of suggesting to build up inventory. At least in my mind. I just assume any writer will automatically submit short stories to major markets because of all the benefits of having a story in a major magazine.
Here is what I am hearing, put as clearly as I can.
Writers are not writing short stories because they fear submission to major magazines, so just easier to not write short stories.
Oh, shit…. That is a bad, bad thing.
That is letting the publishing process get in the way of the creative process. And that is flat dangerous and will end any thought of a career in fairly short order.
And it dawned on me after a couple of letters today that was what was happening to not a small number of writers. Writers who have no fear of indie publishing, but have a massive fear of sending a story to Asimov’s.
So the challenge I suggested last night got some people excited, but others felt guilty about not submitting to magazines first, so why bother or even write. And thus they will find themselves at the end of 2021 in the same position as they are at the end of this year. No progress because of fear and critical voice winning.
Let me say this clearly…
If submissions to major magazines is stopping you from writing, then take submitting to magazines out of your thinking.
Writing stories is all that matters.
Let me say that again: Writing stories is all that matters.
Practice, creativity, gaining confidence. Producing new IP. That is all that really matters in the end.
So do the challenge, publish 52 short stories in 2021, write new ones and publish those also.
But then take the confidence of making that goal and start submitting in 2022 to major magazines. Or not if the idea stops you from writing new.
The key is never let the critical voice, the publishing side of this business, smash in and stop your writing of new work. No matter how good the reasons.
(Sad note: It dawned on me that on this topic of sending stories to major magazines, I have done exactly the same thing I say the “write to market” folks have been doing, shouting that there is only one way. I am very sorry for that. I am sorry I didn’t see this before now. Writing new is all that matters. How you publish it is flat up to you. Just don’t let anything, writing to market or sending to major magazines get in the way of the writing.)