Goals in April

You know what I haven’t done on this blog in quite some time?  Talk about my goals.  About writing.  About anything truly personal.  And maybe you don’t care, maybe you do, but I wanted to do this for two reasons.

One is that if I say I’ll do something, my insane sense of duty will make it happen.

The other is that I could use some encouragement.  Advice, if you have it.

I Want to Submit a Short Story Somewhere

I’ve written a short story that I think is pretty good.  It’s fantasy and somewhat historical, and I think it’s a fairly diverse work.  I had a beta reader/sensitivity reader already, and I think doing much more for a short story wouldn’t be considered ‘worth it.’

So it’s a goal.  I’m doing it.  I’m going to submit a short story somewhere.


…But First I Need To Figure Out HOW To Submit

How do you know where to submit short stories?  I’ve read short stories in places like TOR or Clarkesworld, but where else is there?


So I looked it up.  Fantasy, since that’s what the current short story is.  There’s a ton of magazines.

But where do I go first?

I read on one of Rachel Poli’s guest posts that it’s a good idea to aim high first, then resubmit to lower journals as you get rejected.  But I’m not sure, for me, if that’s a good idea.

Because, Worst of All, I’m Very Scared to Do This

In case you guys don’t know, you can follow me on Twitter.  I’m still hrrgorman there.

I got in a conversation on Twitter with Sam Weiss, who encouraged me to submit.  Like she said, an author can’t succeed unless they submit things.  Unless they get used to rejection.

But oh God, I… I can’t do it.

Part of me just believes that my work isn’t really worth money, that no one would actually ever pay for that privilege (or, worse, they would pay for it and feel regret later).


The other part of me remembers just how terrible the PitchWars process back in August felt.  It literally destroyed me: I nearly stopped blogging, almost gave up the ‘publishing dream’ altogether.  I decided to hold off on giving up because I had gained quite a bit of headway on the blog, but Lord.  That experience set me back quite a ways.  Rejection isn’t just a normal fear for me – I’m absolutely terrified.  When it happens, I turn into a disastrous mush.  I ruin my own life because of it.

Anyway, I sound whiny as hell.  Like a teenager or something.  But still, I’m not even sure if it’s worth submitting a story somewhere…

Do you have thoughts?  Feelings?  Suggestions?  I’m resolved to try something, and I’ll keep you updated on this blog if for no other reason than to tell you whether I actually followed through on my promise.

Thanks for everything, y’all!


25 thoughts on “Goals in April

  1. joanne the geek says:

    Just submit it and see what happens. If you don’t put your work out there then you’ll never know.

    A couple of weeks ago I submitted some poems to a journal for the first time in a while. I have had work published in the past but I’ve totally lost touch with that process.

  2. Tom Darby says:

    While I am uncertain where the best place to submit is — I do know that with a talent like yours, you won’t be a chemical engineer forever. One day I’ll be saying, “I knew that guy when…” Personally, I’m looking forward to that day, H.R.R. You will find a place to submit and when you do, you will submit and then you’ll be on your way. Go do it!

  3. Almost Iowa says:

    I knew a guy who had a “rejection wall”. He pinned every rejection to the wall and pretty much papered half a room. He was damned proud of it. The wall did not speak to the quality of his work, rather it spoke to his determination to get published.

    Myself, I prefer to simple write and post. No gatekeepers, no hurdles to jump, no laying my ego on the line – other than to my readers.

    On the other hand, submitting for publication opens you up to feedback on how to improve.

    Are you a member of a writing group? I was for years until I moved to the country. Good groups are a positive, but never stay in a lousy group.

    • H.R.R. Gorman says:

      I’m not sure how I feel about a rejection wall, but I can see myself doing it! For years and years I had my worst grade pinned to the wall of my cubicle.

      But yeah, the blog doesn’t have gatekeepers. People can tell me if they like it or if it’s crap. But I do want to traditionally publish a novel, so I think I need to take that next step on the journey and submit a short story as preparation…

  4. Violet Lentz says:

    I got nothing cuz I write just for me, but if you have a product you market it to a specific audience. I would say the same goes for publishers. Do your research and submit fantasy specific, largest circulation first and just go from there… I guess…😦

    • H.R.R. Gorman says:

      I think that’s what I’ll do for now. I’m not going to press myself about it – if I only get one lame thing done this month, that’ll still be about as much as the rest of my life put together!

  5. crimsonprose says:

    Even the greats have received rejections. Often a rejection means no more than the publication has enough of this or that genre, or that it simply doesn’t fit their requirements. It doesn’t mean it’s no good.
    As to where to submit. Google a list of publications that take short stories.
    Simple, yea?
    And then be aware that every How To writing guide tells you, before you try for the big one (meaning the NOVEL) you need to get exposure, and a name, by writing short stories. And that means that every would-be author is busily submitting. So take a few minutes to make sure your submission is professionally groomed. Loads of How-To on that.
    My the submission’s fairy wave her wand over your work! 🙂

  6. Miriam Hurdle says:

    I was told that authors have to have thick skin. In the old days when authors published in traditional publishing, they got rejected hundreds of times. Two authors finally published their books after ten years of rejection.

    Some places have very detailed guideline for submission to a point that they tell you how to write a 1500 words non fiction and all the elements in fiction.

    I know one person would mentor you to doing the rewrite and rewrite. Yes, you want to find out what genre they are looking for first.

  7. Alexander Elliott says:

    Boy, do I understand where you’re coming from! As a writer, I CRAVE the acceptance and adulation of my readers. Rejection and criticism (whatever the reason) is really tough to embrace without hurt feelings and a bruised ego. The way I avoid most of it is to self-publish, but don’t kid yourself – it’s still a lot of work! No rejection letters, snarky editors, impossible deadlines, or feeling like crap. You’ll still get some negative reviews, but there is almost always something to learn from them.

    You’ve set a goal, so go for it! I applaud your bravery and determination! Get lots of feedback on the story first, then submit to multiple publications and see what happens. If it doesn’t go anywhere – start self publishing. You will learn a great deal, gain readers, and boost your confidence until it’s time to try the traditional publishing route sometime in the future. Whatever happens, don’t allow the “system” to steal the joy and fulfillment writing brings you.

    • H.R.R. Gorman says:

      It’s that “Disco Magic” I’ve already gotten you to read! I’ve had a person read it in real life, and I’ve edited it a few times. I’m not sure where the editing cutoff should be for something of that length, but I think I’m hitting the point where I need to decide whether it should either fly from the nest or be sunk into the bin of forgetfulness.

  8. Jackie says:

    Sorry, I have no advice, I’m too new at this. I am very familiar with the hand wringing though, and can empathize.

    I watched a video of Ray Bradbury talking to aspiring writers. One piece of advice i took away – he said write one short story per week – then he said, “I defy you to write 52 bad ones in a year.” He thinks it’s statistically impossible to do. Some of them will be good, great even. http://www.openculture.com/2012/04/ray_bradbury_gives_12_pieces_of_writing_advice_to_young_authors_2001.html

    I’ve read a bunch of yours and I enjoy them. I hope you keep writing and wish you lots of luck getting published.

  9. Mercury the Scribe says:

    Didn’t know you had a twitter. Totally following 🙂 I love how honest you are about your process!! Make that first step and you’ll find yourself in an exciting world of submission calls, rejections, accepts, and themes haha

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