After several years of writing, submitting, and watching other writers and wannabes, I have come to realize the importance of these four rules for getting published in the short form. Since I’ve had over 50 short stories published, I feel confident that these hints will work for you:
- Write every day, or at least five or six days a week. Set aside a time, and apply the seat of your pants to the seat of the chair, and write. Aim for 1,000 words each day.
- Finish a huge majority of the stories you start. I have seen so many writers start lots of projects and never finish any of them. Of course, these stories will never see publication.
- Read every day. When you are a beginner, it does, in my opinion, help to read how-to books about writing, creativity and motivation. It’s better to learn about point of view, for example, from a book than from the editor who rejects your manuscript because your POV is inconsistent and confusing. Read in the genre you wish to write in. And read in genres you plan never to write in. It’s all good for you.
- Submit every week. If you submit one piece each week, that equals fifty-two submissions a year! Of course, at first you will have to work up to a significant number of stories to submit. If you write every day, you will soon have enough. Aim to write one short story a week or at least every two weeks, and within a year, you will see major improvement in your writing and hopefully, some acceptances. If you get a rejection, immediately send that story out again. It can count for the one that week.
I admit, I used a critique group to help me meet the goal of writing at least one short story every two weeks for a few years. Having other people waiting for something to read from you is a great motivator. If you can’t join a group, at least find a critique partner or two. Try it. And let me know if it works for you.
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