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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

What I'm Working On and How I Keep Track of It All

Life is always a little chaotic in my neck of the woods. Free time is an illusion. I need schedules and lists to make it through the day. Without them I wind up too flustered to think straight and never know what to do next!

That happened this week, again. I went to double check my short story stats and realized that I edited The Boy Named No but never submitted it last month. Whoops!

My excel sheet for short story submissions is laid out roughly like this:

Title - Market - Date Submitted -E-mail - Accepted? - Notes

I usually make a note of when I can expect to hear a response from the magazine or anthology. Just to be nice, I give the market thirty days more than their current wait time listed on their website. If there is no wait time listed, I give them three months.

About once a month (or whenever I sub a new story) I'll check the wait times and if anyone is past due, I'll send them a polite e-mail. Did you get this story on this date? Have you considered it? Shall I take you off my list?

This keeps me from getting mystery e-mails eight months later letting me know that, sadly, my work has been rejected/accepted/magazine has folded.

Since I didn't send off The Boy Named No last month I need to spend some time this week cleaning that piece up, researching the markets, and sending it on it's way.

I'm also cleaning a humorous near-future piece about shopping for wedding dresses (and true love) tentatively titled Off the Rack.

I'm also waiting to hear about Mermaid, subbed under the title In the Waves. It's short-listed with two different publications and making the rounds through the slush with four others. I'm cautiously optimistic that my little short story will soon find a home. :o)

And then I have a piece of fantasy flash fiction that's written "silent". There is no dialogue in the piece at all, just action. Five hundred words, and I still managed to sneak a dead body in there. See my dedication to body count? Surely counts for something!

To top all that off I'd like to have a finished draft of Dungeon Crawl: The Fall finis'd by the end of February. And from there.... I really don't know. I'm waffling between rewrites of Under a Dark Star and the first rough of At War's End.

Any way I move at this point, I have a full plate of writing.

What are you up to?

Photos courtesy of and copyright to original owners.


  1. Wow - lots going on for sure! That's a great way to keep track of your submissions...I'll have to set a spreadsheet like that up when I start submitting too.

    I tried writing short stories for awhile, but I never seem to have enough time leftover for both shorts and novels - and I prefer novels. At the moment I'm revising one and starting another. Those two along with my serial novel is about all I can handle at once (which is a bummer, actually). :-)

    Good luck with your subs...

  2. I'm making lists too! Sounds like your life is a lot like mine--various stories at different places, all lagging on replies.

    You didn't mention the laundry, work and family stuff that I bet you have too.

    How do we do it? We totally rock, that's how!! :)

  3. Nice. I needed to hear your methods because I often get disorganized, and it makes life hard!

  4. Jamie- I prefer novels, but short stories are good practice for editing. And I like being able to say I've finished and submitted something. I set aside a few days each month to take a break from novels and write or edit a short.

    Amy- Laundry? Work? Family? Silly girl. I have baby locks on the study door. The kids can't find me in here!

    Anne- I started after one of those mystery e-mails arrived telling me they were rejecting me. I didn't remember the short story or the publication and was sure they'd e-mailed the wrong person! I dug through my files until I found the story. It was misfiled under ideas rather than shorts.

    I still live in fear of random rejections for short stories I've forgotten are running loose in the world. Publishing can be quite the Pandroa's box. :o)

  5. I have yet to write a satisfying short story. They all want to be novels!

    My excel sheet looks a lot like yours. I highlight in blue anything on submission, so I can easily look over and see which ones need following up on. Accepted pieces get highlighted in yellow. I need to send out some emails to blues this week.

    If you don't get a reply to your follow-up email, do you email them again to withdraw your work?

  6. Feywriter- If I don't get an e-mail back I usually let the submission sit for another month (on the off chance that they missed the e-mail) and then nudge again. If they allow sim-subs I'll just ignore the market until I find a home for the story, then withdraw.

    If they want exclusives I give them the month to respond to my nudge and then withdraw.

  7. Good luck keeping track of everything! That's great you have a spread sheet to help! Hope you get some offers! Laura