Monday, January 4, 2010

Note on Goal Setting

"I will get published this year."

Many writers set this as one of their goals, however this is one of the things they really have no control over. We are not the ones who decides which piece gets published and when or where.

I've seen it in several places and even been guilty of saying something similar myself and I know better.

However, we do control the sending of that piece out and we can do a lot of things to give it the best chance of publication possible. Here are a couple things you can do...

1) Make your piece the best it can be. Polish each word/sentence until they shine. Have another writer read and critique it. Let it sit a couple days while you work on something else then go back and look at it with fresh eyes to catch anything that's been overlooked.

2) Do your market research. For speculative fiction, browse Ralans. Most everything else can be found over at Duotrope. Be sure to check out the publication websites. Read sample issues if possible. If it's an online publication, read their archives to see if your story will fit there.

3) Follow the submission guidelines. And please, no swirly pink font.

4) Keep learning and improving your craft. Keep writing.

5) Be persistent! When you get a rejection letter, and you will sooner or later, send the piece back out the same day. A writer friend of mine has a list of at least five places for each piece she is sending out and when it comes back from one, she immediately sends it to the next place on the list. You have to do the same thing.

Here's the thing. There are a lot of things you do control with your writing career. You have to seize that control and never let it go.

Now, I'm off to exert some control:-)


  1. I amend my goals. :) I'll submit my article and stories all I can in hopes of getting published.

    That said, I don't get the market research at all, sad to say, nor do I feel I'm getting much help from the lessons or my instructor at LR. Basically it seems we're just told to look through the book and find something we think fits. I look at the Writers Market book, and I looked at Duotrope recently for a fiction piece, and I have a terrible time making heads or tails of it all. I have trouble telling what genre my stories are and finding a publication that might fit. However does your friend have 5 for each story?

  2. Market research is sorta a hit and miss thing. And I think the more one does it, the better they figure it out.

    That said, :-)maybe I should do a series of posts on genres, and how to do market research. That'll give me something to work on.

    I love LR. I really do and one day I hope to be an instructor there. The thing is, they are limited to what they can do for each student. It's hard to meet the individual needs of 50 or 60 students. Plus, with many students they have to be very careful so as not to discourage them.