Finding Your Best Way to Write

The next update of Aswiebe's Market List will be between 11/15/2022 and 11/30/2022. If you don’t want to miss an update, subscribe to the Aswiebe’s Market List newsletter:

As the seasons change, I’m reminded that when writers are most productive can change too. Our lives change, our schedules change, our responsibilities change. Hell, our brains change. What works best for you during the summer might not work at all in the fall and winter. Or switching to a new method might break you out of a rut. Knowing what works for you matters, especially if you’re planning on doing NaNoWriMo this year! And if you are planning on doing NaNoWriMo, that quantity of writing provides an excellent opportunity to experiment.

So how do you know when and what works best for you?

There are no shortcuts to this, I’m afraid! You have to try it to find out. Track the time you spend, when you spend it, how many words you produce, and how you feel about those words. You’ll probably want to give yourself a few days of trying something to see how it works for you, because the first day of a new system or schedule is always weird. Only alter one thing at a time–I suggest trying a different writing schedule first.

Here are some things to try, to see what works for you.


Look at all the time you have available. Consider temporarily changing your wake-up time, your bedtime, your lunch break habits, your Disney+ habit, and any other “normally I do X now” times that you can move around. Schedule a particular time of day to be your designated writing time. Write at that time every day. Remember that this might change depending on the season, and on the darkest days of the year, a happy light is your friend!

Try writing in a block of at least 2 solid hours with minimal breaks.

Try writing in 25-minute intervals with breaks according to the Pomodoro Method.

Try writing in snippets throughout the day instead of one big chunk of time. Uninstall social media apps and write on your phone when you would normally check Instagram, or carry a notebook with you.

Try burst writing. Don’t write for a couple of days, then go to a coffee shop or turn off your phone and close your door and neglect everything else for a 4-6 hour block of writing.


Outline the whole story first.

Outline the scene you’re about to write.

Don’t outline at all.

Write out of sequence. Focus on the scene you’re most excited about first.

Write multiple stories at once. Switch between them when you get bored. Try a few sentences and if you aren’t excited about what you’re writing, move on to the next one. (Note: this method only works if things eventually get finished!)


Write longhand, then transcribe it later. (Remember to count transcription time.)

Try dictation. Give the free trial a shot.

Gamify it with 4theWords.

Write in a coffee shop, write lying on the couch, write at a desk, write in a museum. Try different locations.

Write with friends, or find a local writing meet-up (NaNoWriMo will offer several).

Write totally alone.

Write with strangers nearby, without interacting with them.

Try blocking the internet and social media while you write.

(Do you have a writing question? Send it to me, either by replying to this email or by using the contact form on my website, and it may get answered in the next newsletter.)

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

This newsletter of markets updated in October is going out a little late, thanks to Halloween shenanigans. Other than that, I’ve been writing on my WiP. It’s kind of boring giving status updates on writing a novel, right? Because mostly it’s just, “Yup, still writing a novel. Recently researched skullcaps, skullstripping (actual medical terminology!), and the decay rate of brains.” You know, the usual. Also, turns out brains liquify fairly quickly because they are already so liquidy.

I’m over 25% of my wordcount goal for the novel, though. And I think the plot’s about in the same place. Hurray! 1/4 done!

Things Shiny or Useful

Archive of all shiny or useful links:

What is Your Halloween Writer Type:

Wanting a Beta Reader:

Write the Thing:

The Ecology of Worldbuilding:

Marathon Lessons:

Top 10 Twitter Tips for Authors:

How to Make Twitter Suck Less:

How to Leave Twitter for Mastodon:

Upcoming Virtual Conventions/Workshops

(Any registration fees are noted.)

World Fantasy Convention ($125), Nov 3-6, 2022:

The Nebula Conference is over for 2022, but purchasing a membership now ($75) still gets access to recorded panels and year-round special events:

Featured Market

The Quantum-Steampunk Short-Story Contest wants quantum steampunk, pays total awards worth $4,500.

Entries must satisfy two requirements: First, stories must be written in a steampunk style, including by taking place at least partially during the 1800s. Transport us to Meiji Japan; La Belle Époque in Paris; gritty, smoky Manchester; or a camp of immigrants unfurling a railroad across the American west. Feel free to set your story partially in the future; time machines are welcome.

Second, each entry must feature at least one quantum technology, real or imagined. Real and under-construction quantum technologies include quantum computers, communication networks, cryptographic systems, sensors, thermometers, and clocks. Experimentalists have realized quantum engines, batteries, refrigerators, and teleportation, too. Surprise us with your imagined quantum technologies (and inspire our next research-grant proposals).

Quantum-Steampunk Short-Story Contest

Basics: quantum steampunk stories, up to 3,000 words, grand prize $1,500 Visa certificate plus other whimsical categories up to $4,500 total, reprint acceptability unspecified, due 1/15/23.


Additional details:

Market List Updates

Continue readingFinding Your Best Way to Write

The Joy of Research

The next update of Aswiebe's Market List will be after 10/15/2022. If you don’t want to miss an update, subscribe to the Aswiebe’s Market List newsletter:

Ah, the joy of research! It’s amazing how much research writers use to build purely imaginary science fiction and fantasy worlds. And I love it. There are the tiny little bits of research that make pleasant diversions (hey, what’s the etymology of spick-and-span anyway?) and the big chunks of research that are a necessary part of realistic world- and alien-building (carapaces and mandibles and cuttlefish, oh my!). As long as you don’t get lost down a research rabbit hole, and words still get written, research can be great refreshment for the imagination. And sometimes, indulging in “research” and random facts can inspire your writing.

Here are some excellent research-based sources of inspiration:

(Do you have a writing question? Send it to me, either by replying to this email or by using the contact form on my website, and it may get answered in the next newsletter.)

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

The current chapter in my WiP (work-in-progress) seems to be all vibes, no driving plot action. It’s Chapter 6, so that’s far enough in that it should be okay, right? Right??

Things Shiny or Useful

Archive of all shiny or useful links:

Apex Mag wants (unpaid) slush readers:

Tade Thompson on synopses:

SFWA Safety Resources:

Close to You: Writing in Third Person Close:

Writing Tricks and Brain Hacks:

Upcoming Virtual Conventions/Workshops

(Any registration fees are noted.)

Can*Con (CAD$45), Oct 14-16, 2022:

World Fantasy Convention ($125), Nov 3-6, 2022:

The Nebula Conference ($150) is over for 2022, but purchasing a membership now still gets access to recorded panels and year-round special events:

Featured Market

Phantom wine 2022 Ghost Story Writing Contest wants ghost stories, only 250 entries accepted, winner takes $5,000.


Phantom Wine

Basics: ghost stories, up to 2,500 words, pays $5,000 to the winner, no reprints, due 10/31/22 or until full. Guidelines:

Market List Updates

To see all the details about these new listings and what they're looking for, as well as hundreds of other listings, go to Aswiebe's Market List and download the latest version of the spreadsheet. Note: going forward, limited demographic market listings will be italicized.
NameWhat they wantPay Per Word USD (originals)Flat Pay USD (originals)WebsiteNotes
Artifice & Craft (Zombies Need Brains) ONE-TIME ANTHOLOGY – DUE 12/31/22All speculative fiction, themed to enchanted artwork$0.080

Cossmass InfinitiesSF and fantasy$0.080 PERIODS: BIPOC/GLBTQ+ (2/1 – 2/14, 10/1 – 10/14) and open to all (2/8 – 8/14, 10/8 – 10/14). May close early if receive many submissions.
Dragonesque (Zombies Need Brains) ONE-TIME ANTHOLOGY – DUE 12/31/22All speculative fiction, themed to dragons$0.080

Escape Pod (Podcast) Short StoriesSF$0.080 Escape Artists publication. Original work up to 6,000 words. Reprints up to 7,500 words. ONE-TIME SUBMISSION PERIODS: 9/15/22-5/31/23, 9/1/23-5/31/24
FiyahSpeculative fiction. LIMITED DEMOGRAPHIC: authors from the African diaspora$0.080 SUBMISSIONS SCHEDULE: 9/1/22-12/31/22 unthemed, 2/1/23-3/3/23 carnival, 6/1/23-7/31/23 belonging
Game On! (Zombies Need Brains) ONE-TIME ANTHOLOGY – DUE 12/31/22All speculative fiction, themed to games (not sports)$0.080

If There's Anyone Left Speculative fiction. Limited demographic: marginalized authors$0.080 SUBMISSION PERIOD: Spring 2023
Never Wake (Crystal Lake Publications) ONE-TIME ANTHOLOGY – DUE 10/17/22-12/04/22Horror themed to dreams and hallucinations$0.080

Nightmare MagazineHorror/dark fantasy and poetry$0.080 < 5,000 words. SUBMISSION PERIODS: 2x yearly, usually March and September. Special flash fiction submission periods. Do not submit if rejected by Lightspeed, okay if rejected by Fantasy Magazine. ONE-TIME SUBMISSION PERIODS: 9/26/22-10/9/22Award-nominated
Solar Flare (Zombies Need Brains) ONE-TIME ANTHOLOGY – DUE 12/31/22All speculative fiction, themed to solarpunk$0.080

Solarpunk MagazineSolarpunk fiction and poetry$0.080 2022 Submission periods:. November 2022 submission period canceled.
DreamForge AnvilPositive science fiction and fantasy$0.070 SUBMISSION PERIOD: 9/22/22 – 10/15/22, esp. wants solarpunk and hopepunk
Mighty (Renaissance Press) ONE-TIME ANTHOLOGY – DUE 11/14/22Fantasy and SF, themed to disabled superheroes. Limited author demographic: both disabled and historically underrepresented $0.061

Drabblecast PODCASTSF, fantasy, and horror$0.060 publishes 100 word and 100 character stories, without pay. ONE-TIME SUBMISSION PERIOD: until 10/22/22
Planet ScummSF and weird fiction$0.060 Also takes audio rights. ONE-TIME SUBMISSION PERIOD: open until 10/2/22
HeartlinesSF/fantasy fiction and poetry themed to long-term relationships, incl. Platonic$0.059

Dark Recesses MagazineHorror and dark fiction$0.050

Grendel Press ONGOING ANTHOLOGIESDark fantasy and horror, themed and unthemed$0.050

Solarpunk Creatures (World Weaver Press) ONE-TIME ANTHOLOGY – DUE 10/1/22-10/31/22Themed to solarpunk featuring non-human characters$0.030

Translunar Travelers LoungeFun SF and fantasy$0.030 PERIODS: 3/15-3/21 (POC), 3/22-4/15 (all), 9/15-9/21 (POC), 9/22-10/15 (all)
Under the StairsHorror$0.030 THEME DUE 10/31/22: Homebound Horror
Wild Hunt MagazineWeird and surreal, themed issues$0.027 may vary by issue. Note: offers paid critique feature. ONE-TIME THEME DUE 10/2/22: Moon.
Dragon Gems (Water Dragon Publishing)Fantasy or science fiction$0.020

Alchemy Press Book of the Unknown, The (Alchemy Press) ONE-TIME ANTHOLOGY – DUE 11/1/22-12/14/22Weird fiction with a hint of horror$0.013

Cafe Irreal MagazineFabulist fiction$0.010

Fable (Aurelia Leo) ONE-TIME ANTHOLOGY – DUE 11/30/22Horror, mystery, thriller, especially with supernatural elements$0.010

Fable (Pride Book Cafe) ONE-TIME ANTHOLOGY – DUE 11/30/22Horror and mystery, especially supernatural$0.010

Pride Quarterly (Aurelio Leo/Pride Book Cafe)All speculative fiction, from flash fiction to novella and poetry by limited demographic: QTBIPOC creators$0.010

Sand, Salt, Blood (Sliced Up Press) ONE-TIME ANTHOLOGY – DUE 10/16/22 OR UNTIL FULLHorror fiction and poetry, themed to the sea$0.010

Back Forty (JayHenge Publishing) ONE-TIME ANTHOLOGY - DUE UNTIL FULLSpeculative fiction themed to frontiers$0.005

Vampiricon, The (Mind’s Eye Publications) ONE-TIME ANTHOLOGY – DUE 9/1/22-10/31/22All genres, fiction and poetry, themed to vampires$0.005

Phantom Wine Ghost Story Contest (Bogle Vineyards) ONE-TIME CONTEST – DUE 10/31/22Ghost stories
$5,000.00 at 250 entries
Escape Pod (Podcast) Novelette ReprintsSF reprints only
$100.00 Escape Artists publication. ONE-TIME SUBMISSION PERIOD: 9/15/22-5/31/23
Haunting Hooks: Scary Story Opener Writing Contest ( ONE-TIME CONTEST – DUE 10/7/22SF themed to scary SF story opening (beginning only)

word west revueWestern-themed fiction and poetry, including weird western
$100.00 PERIODS: 9/15-11/15, 3/15-6/15
Bikes in Space Series ANNUAL ANTHOLOGY - DUE 1/15All feminist speculative fiction, themed to bikes plus annual theme
$50.00 1/15/23 THEME: gardens
Halloween Contest (Tales from the Moonlit Path) ANNUAL CONTEST – DUE 10/13/22Horror and dark speculative fiction, themed to prompt

Tales from the Moonlit Path ANNUAL CONTEST – DUE 10/13Horror, themed to quote

MyceliaEerie, weird literary fiction and poetry

Empire of Beasts (Lost Boys Press) ONE-TIME ANTHOLOGY – DUE 12/1/22SF and fantasy themed to a new society of an anthropomorphized creature

Rituals & Grimoires (Quill and Crow) ONE-TIME ANTHOLOGY – DUE 10/1/22Horror and dark fantasy themed to dark wizards

Women and the Sea (Tyche Books) ONE-TIME ANTHOLOGY – DUE 9/30/22All genres, themed to women and the sea

Dead of Winter (Toasted Cheese Literary Journal) CONTEST – ANNUAL, due 10/1-12/21Horror set in autumn or winter, themed
$25.00 theme is posted Oct 1st. Word count range varies by year.
$25.00 fiction under 1,000 words, short stories 2,000-10,000 words.
Alien DimensionsSF themed to aliens in space

Theatre Phantasmagoria, The (Night Terror Novels)Horror flash fiction, themed monthly

A-Z of Horror (Red Cape Publishing) ONGOING ANTHOLOGY SERIESHorror, themes change every 2 months.
$11.52 2022 THEMES: 9/1/22-10/31/22, quantum; 11/1/22-12/31/22, revenge. RIGHTS: Must not be available elsewhere.
Full Moon Chronicles (Howling Wolf Press)Speculative fiction, flash fiction, and poetry
$10.00 SUBMISSION PERIOD: 9/1/22-10/31/22
Incubate (Speculation Publications) ONE-TIME ANTHOLOGY – DUE 10/14/22Feminist horror themed to rage

Tales from the Moonlit PathHorror and dark speculative fiction

Yay! They’re Here! (Dead Fish Books) ONE-TIME ANTHOLOGY – DUE 12/31/22SF themed to first contact with aliens

HootAll genres, flash fiction and poetry

Neon Hemlock NovellasScience fiction, fantasy, horror, slipstream, and weird, especially queer stories SUBMISSION PERIODS: October 11-24, 2022 all authors.
Mysterium Tremendum (Silent Motorist Media) – DEAD MARKETWeird fiction/horror, themed to the sacred or numinous

Boneyard Soup – DEAD MARKETHorror and dark fantasy$0.050

Page & Spine – DEAD MARKETAll genres, incl. SF/spec fic/H$0.010

Wondrous Real Magazine, The – DEAD MARKETFabulism

Legendary Tales – DEAD MARKETAll speculative fiction$0.010

Nightmares and Phantasms PODCAST – DEAD MARKETHorror

Constraint 280 (microverses) – DEAD MARKETSpeculative micro-fiction
$2.80 estimated. 280 character maximum.
Mantid Magazine – DEAD MARKETSpeculative fiction

Lackington's – DEAD MARKETSpeculative fiction, themed$0.008

Liquid Imagination – DEAD MARKETSpec-fic and literary. Also has a special flash fiction section.

Keep writing, keep submitting, and good luck!

Abra Staffin-Wiebe, Keeper of Lists
Aswiebe’s Market List
Abra Staffin-Wiebe’s Author Website

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