Productive Procrastination with Flash Fiction

“I’m on deadline, so my house has never been cleaner.” I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard some version of that from my writer friends. It’s never worked for me, alas. My brain does not accept cleaning as a procrastination method from writing deadlines. However, it turns out that the reverse might be true!

This month, I was doing a cleaning and organizing challenge*. So naturally, my brain decided that I should be doing some writing instead. But not Big Writing, like working on my book. No, that would be too obviously not what I was supposed to be doing. But how about something smol and quick, with a deadline that meant I should obviously do it sooner rather than later?

That is how I ended up taking my daily quick freewriting exercise and tweaking it to fit a monthly flash fiction contest’s theme.

* Necessitated by the accumulating detritus that began when I participated in NaNoWriMo’s monthlong writing challenge right before the pandemic hit, and snowballed when … yeah. All that came with it.

Takeaway 1: Seriously, if you’re not a super-speedy writer and you’re planning on NaNoWriMoing this November, have prep plans and recovery plans for everything non-writing-related! Bonus points for actually writing your plans down in advance.

Takeaway 2: Don’t have time for a “serious” writing project? Not sure what you want to write next? Try something small and fun, like one of these monthly themed flash fiction contests. As always for publishers included in Aswiebe’s Market List, none of these charge fees and they all pay (a little–flash fiction is not usually highly remunerative!):

What I’ve been up to lately, writing-wise:

DreamHaven storefront in the Standish neighborhood
DreamHaven storefront in the Standish neighborhood, by Elcief (CC BY-SA 4.0)

If you’re in the Twin Cities area, I have a reading coming up in October at Dreamhaven!

On Wednesday, October 4, ABRA STAFFIN-WIEBE reads and holds a reception as part of the Speculations Reading Series, from 6:30-7:45 p.m. Abra Staffin-Wiebe is a science fiction author who loves futuristic fairy tales, cheerful horror, and dark science fiction. Dozens of her stories have appeared at award-winning publications including, Escape Pod, and Fireside Magazine.

Bring a friend! There will be cookies and soda as well as giveaways during the reading. Afterwards, we usually adjourn to Parkway Pizza for some social time.

Things Shiny or Useful

Archive of all shiny or useful links:

Lucy Worsley’s 9 “Christie Tricks” for Mystery Writers:

Hook Your Genre Readers on Page One:

5 Ways To Use Short Stories To Grow as a Writer:

Publishing Contracts 101: Beware Internal Contradictions:

How to Prevent AI Bots from Scraping Your Website:

10 Tips for Building a Realistic and Vibrant Fictional World:

Overdrive and Libraries: Everything You Wanted to Know:

Featured Market

Tales & Feathers Magazine (Augur) will be opening soon for cozy fantasy submissions!

Our ideal submissions look like this:

  • Quiet character-driven storytelling
  • Gentle moments
  • Rich fantastical worldbuilding
  • Everyday moments
  • Stories that take place before or between or after the epic conflicts
  • Stories that offer warmth, comfort, and possibility

We welcome stories written in any fantasy genre or genres, including stories that blur genre lines. We are especially interested in high fantasy, fairy tales, and myth.

We also welcome stories that have been translated into English and stories that engage with non-Western fantasy genre traditions.Tales & Feathers

Basics: cozy fantasy, 1,000 – 2,500 words, CA$.11/word, no reprints. Submission periods: 10/1/23-10/21/23 BIPOC, trans, or disabled writers; 10/8/23-10/21/23 general submissions.


Market List Updates

To see all the details about these new listings and what they’re looking for, go to For all the hundreds of listings, go to Aswiebe’s Market List and download the latest version of the spreadsheet, or view it online at Best read on a bigger screen!

Screenshot of updated New Markets page

Click to see details of the latest updates!

Keep writing, keep submitting, and good luck!

Abra Staffin-Wiebe, Keeper of Lists

Feel free to share this blog post/newsletter with others by whatever means you like, as long as you include all of it. The next update of Aswiebe’s Market List will be after 10/15/2023. If you don’t want to miss an update, subscribe to the Aswiebe’s Market List newsletter: