Usual start to the week, albeit slightly earlier than usual, with a, very polite and ‘encouraging’ rejection email from the USA for ‘Contact’ a science fiction story. Last week saw a polite refusal for ‘Ink Blots’ from a British magazine.
‘Contact’ is 11,700 words long whereas ‘Ink Blots’ is 948 words.
Now I am trying to work out where to send them next (the waste bin beckons but I am resisting its blandishments). There are several problems with this process.
One: They seem to be odd lengths. 11,700 words is too long for most people’s interpretation of a short story these days and yet isn’t long enough for a novella. 948 words appears to be too long for Flash fiction and too short for a short story. I know there are exceptions to these rules of thumb, but they are few and far between (paid vehicles anyway. I made a rule some time ago that if it’s worth writing and reading it’s worth getting paid for, and imagine the embarrassment of not even being able to GIVE it away!).
Two: I need to write at the moment and I find it very difficult to switch between marketing and writing. I know some people can be doing a radio interview in the morning and writing a couple of thousand words over lunch and then lurking at a launch in the evening. I find it very difficult switching between writing in the morning and making a sandwich for lunch. The number of launches I attend is so small I can afford to take the day off without damage to my productivity. I think this problem with changing between activities is partly to do with my ASD, which I suspect I have bored you with already. My recent diagnosis has made so much sense of various aspects of my life that I am in danger of letting it become my ‘special interest’. Must resist!
Three: The reason number two above is so urgent; the need to write, is because ‘real life’ has been a real pain for the last couple of months, got a lot busier last Monday and shows every sign of getting more hectic in the next three months or so. I suppose I could put a lot of the writing on hold, but as most of the other stuff is of a voluntary nature I don’t feel that is the correct division of my time and I really feel the urge to write and to market the resulting material. I have reached that age when the finishing post on the horizon looks as if it may be the real thing and not a mirage. It concentrates the mind.
On the plus side of looking at that particular signpost, my cardiologist greeted me with the words ‘What are you doing here?’ when I went to see him ten days ago. It turns out he was as reluctant to see me as I him. My last bout of Atrial Fibrillation is over a year ago now and no-one has turned up an obvious cause. So fingers crossed and carry on with as much exercise as I can do without falling over.
So I guess a more structured approach to dividing my time between shameless self publicity, creating something to publicise and ‘other stuff’ is in order. I must avoid turning the organising of that structure into an all consuming interest. At least I know it is a danger and why.
In the mean time – more writing and watching the emails and post for further polite rejections.