I’ve done the bare minimum of tidying my office. I have a glass of sweet tea, my go-to places for lists of open submissions (Aerogramme Writers’ Studio and Literistic), and a whole day to devote to my writing. Yes, there are plenty of dishes to wash and laundry to do, but in my office I can close the door and try not to think about them for now.
Since getting a job at my dream workplace, I haven’t quite taken advantage of my luck. I am fortunate enough to be working part time on set days of the week. This time last year, I was working part time at a cafe and Christmas cover at Lush. I never knew what days I would be working; I existed in a limbo of waiting for rotas to be sent out, and spent my days off laying on the couch recovering from the hectic atmosphere of both places. I don’t mean to complain — I know plenty of people who have struggled to find work despite being wonderful, capable, and experienced individuals. Last year I was just excited to have finally found something, after months of mostly unsuccessful attempts to freelance, living in a small town with very few opportunities. But my work left me feeling completely drained of energy and creativity.
I have so much respect for writers past and present who successfully juggle full time or even labor-intensive part time jobs, and still make time to write. I am not so good at being consistent with my own writing, and I am disappointed in myself for not getting to this point sooner. With two regular weekdays off, I should be guarding these days as ‘writing days’.
Apart from July and August, I have managed to maintain my plan at the beginning of the year to submit work each month. I keep a list up by my desk, with my successes highlighted:
It’s not much, but I’ve now surpassed my few publications last year. I plan to submit more per month before the end of the year, and I’m hoping the online writing class I’ve signed up for will help motivate me. I’ve been looking for a class to participate in, whether a one-day course or a reputable online one, so I was excited to find a free one from the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program: How Writers Write Fiction 2016: Storied Women.
Something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently is how I used to wait around to submit pieces. Of course you want to tailor your submissions to publications by reading other pieces they’ve published before. Something I’ve been guilty of in the past though was waiting to submit to a specific publication I wanted to be in, while overlooking other places that may have liked my writing as well. But the thing is, if you’re always waiting, no one is going to read your work.
I am so irrevocably in love with literary journals, and in the past year zines have come into my life. These small, indie publications can come and go; circumstance is not so kind to them. But anyone who picks them up is one more person who can experience your writing. You’re guaranteed the people who are published in them, but likely also their friends and family.
I’m looking forward to receiving my copies of Papaya Press’ newest zine, ‘Ache for Home’, and reading the other pieces included in it. But I’m also excited to hear some of them at the Greyscale Issue 5/Papaya Press launch, where I will also be reading! I never thought I’d have the amazing opportunity to read at a Durham Book Festival fringe event — but here I am, needing to practice ‘Magnolia’. Expect photos, even if I’m making a derpy reading face, as usual: