“... but not for those who wait too late.”  That Bill Withers was a pretty smart fellow.  You should always read the Writer’s Guidelines carefully, but the one thing I want you to pay attention to today is the implied deadline.  Check the fine print.  Some publishers, especially anthologists, will give an arbitrary deadline and then add a caveat of “or until filled”. 

Remember even if you have a generous 2% shot, if you let 50 writers submit before you, then someone may have usurped your opportunity.  We all know that we can over-edit and, in the case of a deadline; we may just edit ourselves out of a slot.  On the other hand, you don’t want to turn in a sloppy product. Balance is the key. 

There are a few ways that we can mitigate this.  Keep up on the RSS feed or blogs for your favorite publishers or you can access a collective information site like www.duotrope.com if you are looking for the widest options.  Start working on those pieces as soon as you see the offering become available.  I save my working documents as yyyymmdd_AwesomeStory.rtf so that I have a reminder of what the deadline is.  If I know I want to give one particular piece more attention I will add a 000_ at the beginning to remind me to work on it every day.

We are writing as much as possible during this program, but it is okay to let some short term projects go if they don’t inspire you.  You want to put your best foot forward.  Let’s not burn out on every little project if you can find a project further down the road that you can be really excited about and have the time to work on properly.  We can still keep working on shorter term projects when the inspiration slows down.

Leave a Reply.