After being laid off from a job I’d held for six and a half years, I initially thought—great, I’ll have all day to write. The search for employment dragged from weeks to months, and my creative spirit took a hard hit. If employers didn’t want to hire me, then readers can’t want to buy my stories. This bad thinking became a downward spiral that basically killed my love for writing for almost two years. Sure, I revised old stuff but new stories weren’t bubbling up inside me.
A major life change and relocation halfway across the US this year allowed me to write full-time. I had one simple goal: get a story accepted and published in 2012. To accomplish that, I knew I had to write short and I turned to publisher calls for submissions. I love these because they have a specific word count (ranging from 5-15K, some longer), a theme and (best of all) a deadline. Sometimes, the theme is only a holiday or a one-line statement but that’s enough to jump start my plotting.
My first two shorts were rejected but I knew when I submitted the competition would be tough for this well-known publisher. These were the stories that broke my creative block, and I will revise, expand and resubmit those in the future. Now, the field was wide open and I spent several hours compiling a folder of these calls. I wrote a Thanksgiving story set in a small Texas town, a Christmas story set in a different small Texas town, a Christmas story set in 1884 Aspen, and a contemporary summer story set in a small California town. Stories from a historical western anthology published several years ago are now being released as singles—this is a story set in 1871 Wyoming Territory. So within the span of two months, I signed five contracts.
I also write under a pen name and I had luck with my short erotic romance stories too. I sold two shorts (one had been rejected by one publisher but I sent it right out to another).
I wrote a rodeo story for a publisher’s call. By the time I was offered a contract, I’d realized that getting established with three new publishers involved more non-writing time than I thought. I declined that offer and now have a completed story to submit to one of my new publishers, as soon as I catch my breath with promo, blogs, website updates, edits, revisions, etc.
I credit these calls for submissions from various publishers with providing the structure and impetus for me to again get serious about writing and to break my creative block.
The Wild Rose Press