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

Giving Yourself Grace … For a While, and Other Market List Updates

The next update of Aswiebe's Market List will be after 8/15/2022. If you don’t want to miss an update, subscribe to the Aswiebe’s Market List newsletter:

Permanent link to this newsletter in the archives:

Thoughts in Passing

Giving Yourself Grace … For a Little While

Life happens. It’s a truism because it’s true. After the past couple of years, we all understand how quickly our lives can be disrupted. Some disruptions are predictable (summer vacation, a new baby), others are less so (sickness, a dying relative, job loss). In my household, the last couple of months have been a little of column A, a little of column B. We’re all fine now.

My writing schedule, however, is shot. My wordcount graph looks terrible. You can really see when my kids came home from school, followed quickly by our whole family getting sick and then having an activity-packed family reunion.

I am not good at giving myself grace. I’m a fairly slow writer, and if I don’t drive myself to write on a schedule, suddenly weeks have gone by without words on the page. And I don’t write well in short spurts. I really need a few uninterrupted hours to sink into deep work mode.

So, grace. Giving yourself grace is not the same thing as giving up. Grace can be saying, “I can’t do as much as I want while [current circumstances], but I will if [better conditions].” Then you do what you can, when you can, under the current circumstances. Sometimes that’s a little, sometimes that’s nothing. Then you can either wait or do what you can until your circumstances change. That might be because they are temporary and have a natural end date. Or it might be because you have worked to get your life closer to those better conditions.

For me, knowing that there is an end condition and planning for it makes all the difference. I can give myself grace, even if right now all I can do is make a list, or take a few notes, or add a reminder to my calendar for later.

(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:

I’ve tinkered with the way the new market listings table shows up on the website. It should be more responsive for cellphones and smaller screens (will still display best on a larger screen). And now it has a search function! Please do leave a comment in my contact form letting me know what you think.

Other than that, I’m getting snippets of writing done on my space opera novel, when I can. Trying not to wince at how far behind my chart thinks I am!

Things Shiny or Useful

Archive of all shiny or useful links:
🧵 indicates a useful thread on Twitter.

Purgatorial Stories: Hallmarks and Patterns:

Reflections on Writing Horror:

Here’s how to find your damn comps 🧵:
…with caveats🧵:

10 Swords Writing Exercise 🧵:

Guard Rails Around the Bottomless Pit:

Behind the Scenes:

Romancing SFF:

Publishing Checklist: Making Books:

Upcoming Virtual Conventions/Workshops

(Any registration fees are noted.)

ChiCon 8 / WorldCon ($30), Sept 1-5, 2022:

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

The annual Unidentified Funny Objects anthology wants humorous SF/fantasy, due 8/25/22.

We’re looking for speculative stories with a strong humor element. Think Resnick and Sheckley, Fredric Brown and Douglas Adams.  We welcome quality flash fiction and non-traditional narratives. Take chances, try something new, just make sure that your story is funny.

Puns and stories that are little more than vehicles for delivering a punch line at the end aren’t likely to win us over.  The best way to learn what we like in general is to read a previous volume. You can buy them here and also read the online stories for free. WHAT WE DON’T WANT These are the tropes we see entirely too much of in the slush pile.

You will improve your odds if you steer clear of these:

* Zombies
* Vampires
* Deals with the Devil / Djinn in a bottle variants
* Stereotypical aliens probing people, abducting cattle, and doing other stereotypical alien things.

Unidentified Funny Objects

Basics: humorous speculative fiction, 500 – 6,000 words, pays $.08/wd, no reprints, 2022 submissions close 8/25/22.


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.

July '22 Update

New and updated science fiction, fantasy, and horror publication listings for Aswiebe's Market List, July 2022 edition.
NameWhat they wantPay Per Word USD (originals)Flat Pay USD (originals)WebsiteNotes
Unidentified Funny Objects ANNUAL ANTHOLOGY - DUE 7/26 – 8/25Funny F/SF$0.100 SUBMISSION PERIOD: 7/26/22 – 8/25/22
Augur MagazineLiterary SF/F, fabulism, slipstream, and poetry$0.088 Canadian. ONE-TIME SUBMISSION PERIOD: closes 7/31/22
Tales & Feathers MagazineCozy slice-of-life fantasy$0.088 SUBMISSION PERIOD: closes 7/31/22
Daily Science FictionSF, fantasy, slipstream, dark fantasy but not pure horror, etc.$0.080 temporary closure until ??
FiyahSpeculative fiction. LIMITED DEMOGRAPHIC: authors from the African diaspora$0.080 THEME: Hauntings and Horrors due 7/31/22
Real Stories of the United States Space Force (Baen Books) ONE-TIME ANTHOLOGY – DUE 1/22/23 or when fullHard SF fiction, poetry, and fact, themed to current and future near-Earth space-related threats$0.080
Aseptic and Faintly Sadistic: An Anthology of Hysteria Fiction ONE-TIME ANTHOLOGY – DUE 8/1/22Dark speculative fiction, themed to hysteria$0.060 anthology
Obsolescence (Alan Lastufka) ONE-TIME ANTHOLOGY – DUE 8/??/22 UNTIL FULLDark SF, fantasy, and horror themed to technology$0.060
Shakespeare Unleashed (Black Spot Books) ONE-TIME ANTHOLOGY - DUE 8/21/22Horror themed to Shakespeare’s works$0.060
Utopia Science FictionSF, especially hard SF$0.040 prefers up to 5,000 words, may serialize longer stories
Sherlock is a Girl’s Name (Clan Destine Press) ONE-TIME ANTHOLOGY – DUE 9/30/22Mystery of all types, themed to a female Sherlock Holmes$0.035
Sci PhiNon-character-driven SF, esp. big idea SF and classic-style SF$0.033 SUBMISSION PERIOD: open until 8/4/22
Fusion FragmentSF$0.031 SUBMISSION PERIOD: open until 8/7/22
Post Roe Alternatives (B-Cubed Press) ONE-TIME ANTHOLOGY – DUE 9/8/22SF themed to the justice system post-Roe v. Wade$0.030 Query first for reprints or > 4,000 words.
Science Fiction Tarot, The (tdotSpec) ONE-TIME ANTHOLOGY – DUE 10/04/22SF$0.030
Neon MagazineDark literary fiction and poetry, especially surreal or speculative$0.024 SUBMISSION THEMES: Machines due 1/15/23, Childhood due 6/15/23
Dirt in the Sky (Filthy Loot) ONE-TIME ANTHOLOGY – DUE 8/15/22Literary horror themed to the haves and have-nots$0.020
Intrepidus InkSpeculative flash fiction, action-adventure, speculative fiction, and literary, with intrepid main character$0.020
Speculative North Magazine (Tdotspec)Speculative fiction$0.016
From the Depths (Wyldblood Press) ONE-TIME ANTHOLOGY – DUE 8/31/22Fantasy and fantastic horror themed to the sea$0.012
Aphotic Realm MagazineHorror fiction, flash fiction, and poetry$0.010
Night Terrors (Scare Street) ANTHOLOGY SERIESCreepy literary dark fiction and horror$0.010 takes non-exclusive audio rights, translation rights
Space and Time MagazineScience fiction, fantasy, and horror$0.010 period: 1/15 – 1/31, 7/15 – 7/31
Two-Thousand Word Terrors (Rooster Republic Press)Horror$0.010 2022 SUBMISSION PERIOD: 8/1/22 – 8/31/22
Wyngraf - flash fictionSecondary world cozy fantasy flash fiction$0.010 SUBMISSION PERIOD: Always open to flash fiction submissions
Wyngraf - short storiesSecondary world cozy fantasy$0.010 SUBMISSION PERIOD: Opens 8/1/22
Furry/Lovecraftian/Erotic/University Themed Anthology (Armoured Fox Press) ONE-TIME ANTHOLOGY – DUE UNTIL FULLFurry erotic horror, themed $0.005
Nameless Songs of Zadok Allen & Other Things That Should Not Be, The (JayHenge Publishing) ONE-TIME ANTHOLOGY - DUE UNTIL FULLCosmic horror$0.005
Phantom Thieves & Sagacious Scoundrels (JayHenge Publishing) ONE-TIME ANTHOLOGY - DUE UNTIL FULLSpeculative fiction themed to rogues and thieves$0.005
Imagining Indigenous Futures ANNUAL CONTEST - DUE 12/1Indigenous SF writing sample
Tales by Moonlight Novella Contest (Ankara) ONE-TIME CONTEST – DUE 9/15/22Fantasy novellas/novelettes
$1,000.00 all entries will be published online for voting, using first publication rights.
VoyageYA, all subgenres
Darkness Visible, A (Ontology Books) ONE-TIME ANTHOLOGY – DUE 10/31/22Postmodern or experimental horror
Heroic Fantasy QuarterlyHeroic fantasy, sword & sorcery fiction and poetry
$75.00 serialize more than 10,000 words. ONE-TIME CLOSURE UNTIL ??
Weird Christmas Flash Fiction ANNUAL CONTEST - DUE 11/2Weird flash fiction themed to Christmas
Fairy Tale Magazine, TheFairy tale retellings, themed. ONE-TIME 2023 THEME: love.
$50.00 Enchanted Conversation. Submission periods: 12/1/22 – 1/2/23 love-themed, 5/1/23 – 6/2/23. Occasional calls for longer works.
Wind Guide You (Sadwrn Press) ONE-TIME ANTHOLOGY – DUE 9/1/22Strange, setting-themed speculative flash fiction
Curiouser MagazineSurrealism, horror, weird, fabulism, and near-future SF
$34.79 DEMOGRAPHIC LIMITATION: Australian residents only for Issue 3 (subs opened 6/30/22)
Bullet PointsMilitary speculative fiction
99 Fleeting FantasiesFantasy
Tales of Sley House ANNUAL ANTHOLOGY – DUE 7/1 UNTIL FULLFantasy, SF, horror, mystery, and thriller
$25.00 “about” 6,000 words. Submission periods: 7/1 – 7/15 college students only, 7/16 until full open for everyone
Funemployment QuarterlySF and fantasy
Night's End, The PODCASTDark speculative fiction, some themed issues
$10.00 THEME SUBMISSIONS: Halloween and Gothic/ghost stories due 8/29/22
Trembling with FearHorror, dark SF, and dark fantasy, themed and unthemed
$5.00 and reprint acceptability varies, prefers unthemed stories in 800-1,500 range, themed up to 2,500, may serialize longer. ANNUAL SUBMISSION THEMES: 12/1 – 1/25 Valentine, 2/1 – 7/31 Summer Holiday, 7/1 – 10/13 Halloween, 7/1 – 12/7 Christmas. ONE-TIME SUBMISSION PERIOD: Summer Holiday theme until 8/31/22
Every Day FictionAll flash fiction
Future FictionNear-future hard SF accepted in 13+ different languages and published in translation to Italian and German
Nightfire (Tor/Forge's Horror Imprint) Horror novels and novellas CLOSURE until ??
Queer Blades (Farther Trees) – DEAD MARKETFantasy adventure with LGBTQIA+ main characters
Scare Story – DEAD MARKETHorror themed to ghosts, monsters, the supernatural etc.$0.010
Annorlunda Enterprises – DEAD MARKETAll genres except horror and erotica

From the Farther Trees – DEAD MARKETFantasy
Satyr Central – DEAD MARKETAll genres, esp. weird and genre-nonconforming fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, superhero, horror, comedy

Aftermath – DEAD MARKETRealistic apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic environmental fiction$0.020

Keep writing, keep submitting, and good luck!

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

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Throwback Thursday #TBT: Feb 2013’s notes on writing motivation and Glitter & Mayhem

Editor’s Note

Throwback Thursday! Some Thursdays, I will post a Market List newsletter from way back and comment on what's changed since. After major sections, I'll add a Where Are They Now? comment. (Yes, this is my sneaky way of moving my archives to my new website. 😉You caught me.)

Because of rapid publication market changes, I only include the Featured Market in Throwback Thursdays. 

How do you motivate yourself to write, day after day (assuming you’re not a binge writer, that is)? As my writing time shrinks, thanks to my darling toddler, I’ve become more and more concerned about how to squeeze the words out during those brief times when I *do* have uninterrupted time for writing. I no longer have the luxury of dilly-dallying around all day in order to get my word count. I’m trying:

1. Planning and visualizing beforehand:

2. Rewards! Kelly Barnhill, author of Iron-Hearted Violet, mentioned that she uses the reward of a chocolate chip every so many words. I find that Hershey’s Mint Bliss chocolates do the trick for me, and every hundred words or so, knowing that I’ve earned 1/4 of a chocolate really does seem to light up those reward centers in my brain.

3. Gold stars–just like in kindergarten. I’m trying putting a gold star on my calendar for every day I write, and a fancy multicolored star for when I write more than a certain number of words. The jury is still out on whether this works for me. I forget to put the stars up as often as not, which argues that they aren’t an effective motivator for me.

4. Spreadsheets! I’ve started using The Magic Spreadsheet (of myth and lore): . It does seem to be working for me, at least in the sense of strongly motivating me to write that minimum 250 words every day, no matter what. It isn’t as effective at motivating me to write swiftly enough to increase my wordcount, but the “writing every day in a row” thing sure is working, and I know that for me, that can be crucial.

Where are they now?  
1. I need to work more on pre-visualization. It really works for me, and I should remember that! 
3. I literally bought a calendar to start doing this again this year. I have yet to hang it up. 
4. This is still up, but it's huge and way too complicated to figure out now. Not sure if it's even still active.

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

(Note: You may have noticed this newsletter skipped last month. My grandmother died about the time that the newsletter was due to go out, and after we’d traveled for the funeral and come back home and gotten up to speed on everything else, the newsletter would have been late enough that I decided to just wait for the next month.)

I’ve confirmed that I’ll be attending CONvergence, a large fantasy and science fiction convention in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. Schedules are still being finalized, but I will likely be talking on panels about things writingy, apocalyptic, and conspiracy-related (shh–don’t tell anyone).

From Their Cradle to Your Grave is now available on! This includes my reprinted short story, “The Perfect Costume.” This horror anthology is all about tales of terrifying tots, toddlers through teenagers. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but doesn’t that sound like a great gift for the new parents in your life?

Where are they now?  Out of print! I didn't realize this until I checked the link. Now I have some publication updates to make.

Things Shiny or Useful

* Where Your Time Is [productivity]:

* How to Write a Character From Start to Finish [characterization]:

* An example of why you might need The Electronic Frontier Foundation someday (it has a happy ending!) [writing business]:

* Free Stuff for Writers: Waking the Muse [plotting]: and search for the title

* She Has No Head! [characterization]:

* Entertainment vs Truth [writing craft]:

* Updated MinnSpec podcast links:

Where are they now?  We stopped doing the MinnSpec podcast a long time ago, but the links are still up! 

Featured Market

Glitter and Mayhem is a spec-fic anthology about, well, they say it best….

A fiction anthology filled with Roller Derby, nightclubs, glam aliens, (literal) party monsters, drugs, sex, glitter, debauchery, etc

. . . why just throw a glow-in-the-dark roller skating party when you can also make it a book release party? And what’s better than a glow-in-the-dark roller skating party celebrating a book about the secret history of 20th Century nightlife/party culture?

Read more
 The basics: due March 15, all speculative fiction, less than 6,000 words, pays $.05/word.

Where are they now? This anthology turned out pretty awesome (I bought and read it, because I'm a huge fan of Seanan McGuire's stories), and it is still available!
Glitter and Mayhem cover
Stay tuned for future Throwback Thursdays, or go read the current Aswiebe's Market List newsletter now!