How Long Since You Wrote?

Thoughts in Passing

How long has it been since you last wrote fiction? When you stop and think about it, does the answer to that question surprise you? Do you even know how long it’s been?

More than once, I’ve found myself startled to realize how long it has been since I had a real writing session. It’s usually not an intentional choice. It’s life. Things happen. Recently, it was covid + a nasty chest cold, followed by my family getting stomach flu, and then Thanksgiving travel was upon us. This could definitely have been worse–we could have been sick during Thanksgiving. But it definitely dented my ability to sit down and write in a focused way.

I don’t think I would have noticed exactly how much it affected me if it wasn’t for NaNoWriMo.

Obviously, the question, “Do you know how long it’s been since you wrote?” is not for those of you who have been doing NaNoWriMo! If you did NaNoWriMo, congratulations. Congratulations if you wrote the full number of words to “win.” Congratulations if you don’t make it, but you still wrote more words than you thought you could in one month! Congratulations if you wrote any number of words, at all. You brought new sentences into the world, and that’s a pretty awesome thing.

I didn’t try to do NaNoWriMo this year, but I still benefited from the special NaNoWriMo event hosted by 4theWords (a website that gamifies writing, complete with quests and monsters to defeat by wordcount). Here’s how.

Tracking.  Writing. Streaks. 

As simple as that! How many days in a row had I written a certain number of words? The days stack up. Keeping the chain going can add motivation. More importantly, for me, it builds a daily habit of thinking about how many words I’ve written that day.

Building that habit doesn’t require a special month or a special app*. You can track it with a spreadsheet. You can track it with a paper calendar that you put stickers on. You can track it by gouging hash marks into the wall of your writing dungeon, if you have a writing dungeon and you don’t mind causing a little property damage.

If your answer was that you don’t know how long it has been since you last wrote regularly–and if that answer bothered you–you might benefit from making a habit of tracking your writing every day, even on those days when the number of words you wrote was zero.

* If you would like to use an app, there are many habit-tracking apps available. If you like making a game of writing, 4theWords is fun. If you want a tracker that also helps you meet a deadline (and is free), I recommend Pacemaker at https://www.pacemaker.press.

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

I’ve been working on the never-ending ending of my WiP! I swear, it keeps getting longer… Funny how that works.

Things Shiny or Useful

Archive of all shiny or useful links: https://aswiebe.com/marketlist/shiny-or-useful-writing-links/

5 Rules for Writing Humorous Urban Fantasy: https://www.writersdigest.com/write-better-fiction/5-rules-for-writing-humorous-urban-fantasy

Featured Market

The Mike Resnick Memorial Award for Short Fiction (annual) wants SF by new writers, is open for submissions 11/15 – 4/1.

Short Story (definition): A story up to 7,499 words, as defined by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA).

New Author (definition): An author who has not had any fiction work published (including short stories, novelettes, novellas, and novels in paper, digital or audio form) that has been paid a per-word rate of 6 cents a word or more or received a payment for any single work of fiction totaling more than $50.

If the author has self-published the piece then their total earnings from any single piece of fiction may not exceed $50 from all published venues.

Eligibility: Entries should be a new science fiction short story written a new author who affirms their story was not in any way plagiarized off of any other work, nor written (in part or whole) with the assistance of AI apps or programs.Arc Manor Books

Basics: science fiction, limited author demographic: new authors, up to 7,499 words, no reprints, 1st – $250, 2nd – $100, 3rd – $50. Submissions due: 4/1/2.

Guidelines: https://www.arcmanorbooks.com/resnick

Market List Updates

To see all the details about these new listings and what they’re looking for, go to https://aswiebe.com/marketlist/new/. 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 https://aswiebe.com/marketlist/marketlistonline/. Best read on a bigger screen!

Screenshot of November updates

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 12/15/2023. If you don’t want to miss an update, subscribe to the Aswiebe’s Market List newsletter: https://aswiebe.com/marketlist/subscribe-to-market-list/
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