Thoughts at the End of the Year

2015 has been a strange, strange year for me.

Let’s talk about submissions and things.

In the past I’ve been all hustle and GET INTO ALL THE ZINES type of writer. I had an average of around 60-80 submissions per year all in (counting fiction, non-fiction, poetry) and had a 15-20% (give or take) acceptance ratio. If you’ve been around for a while you’ve seen my list of 100 Rejections gained 2012-2013.

There have been changes that mean I get published far less often and I submit less often as well. The first change is that I’ve changed how I read a lot of lit mags and do my market research. I have a running list of magazines (generally due to editor behavior on social media during whatever racist thing is going on the lit world at any moment) that I absolutely will not work with ever.

This decision has been painful for me. Being that I am not famous and don’t carry enough weight in the lit world to really be so selective, this has meant that I’ve had to give up on opportunities.

At this point in my career, I feel that it is more important to me to not be part of my own literary oppression by being published in magazines with editors/staff who clearly don’t respect POC, especially Black women than it is for me to get published/read by a wider audience.

That decision means I have to spend a lot of time vetting my submissions. Thus, you’re not gonna see my name so much.

It’s taken time, but I’ve made peace with my decision regarding submissions and publications.

Related to that, I stuck fairly well to the decision I made last year and talked about a bit here. I have not kicked my own ass about freelance work and though I didn’t make as much money this year as I did last year, I feel like I’ve had some more quality things picked up.

I haven’t stopped writing about racism for free entirely. I have decided to do it only on my own terms.

That is pretty much where I’ve come to. My own terms. For a long time I believe that I had to hit some echelon of fame before I could make that decision. I had no faith in the validity of me saying no to the uh, mainstream lit road. While it feels fairly alien on my part to be so selective about trying to get published and sometimes I feel like I have made a big fucking mistake, on the other hand it feels good.

Publishing SCLAB with Milcah has been a huge part in my shift in view. Being supported in how I work, why I write what I do by someone I respect and love has been pretty transformative.

On the writing front a lot of things have gone down.

I wrote a really personal essay that got published at The Establishment. I struggled to write more from the heart autobiographically than to write it from a this happened and here’s the lesson type deal.

I have used Medium for pieces that I did not want to put into other folks hands. I’ve presented them as they are, they aren’t perfect and that’s okay. They are honest and real and very me.

Going with the theme of keeping it real I started a Patreon account to help me worry less about finances and it’s small and has been a bit of trouble but it’s been so worth it. I would not have been able to get a new computer or pay for software I use to write with at all without it.

My AWP16 plans are still kind of wobbly. My desire to go hasn’t waned but my faith in the cost not totally fucking up my life has uh, well yeah I got none.

My partner has assured me that we can make it work. I am mainly worried about wasting my time and money. There are panels I really want to see, writers I would like to hug, maybe make a little money and read some. I don’t know.

What else is coming up?

I’ve been back into writing noir/crime fiction. I have a LOT to say about working in the genre, but I’ll save that for the new year.

Also in 2016 watch out for a total author website makeover.

I have been kicking around this idea to produce and offer for sale a series of writing lessons for folks without a lot of cash and not totally aimed at people who are already writing/publishing.

Basically, if you’ve read any of my craft notes posts, it would be like that but a complete thing. I’m thinking with prompts, story example, some tips on how to get going. I would like to also involve some Vlogging, writing related book reviews etc. I’ll come back and do a proper poll. I do need to gauge interest because I can’t spend weeks on it for it not to be profitable.

I’m tempted to offer up some of my stuff out of my Etsy shop in zine/print. I’m not sure. I feel some type of way about it honestly. A lot of folks won’t drop the dollar for the story and I get it but it does make it difficult for me to justify spending the time on the Etsy shop stuff when I could be doing something else. Fact is, I have to be careful about how much of my time and energy I put into things that are supposed to make me a little money and don’t.

I’ve been rethinking how I hustle and while I love some of my hustles, in the grand scheme of things they just cost me too much in terms of precious time and energy I could spend writing.

Lastly, I also launched my very own little author news letter. I call them love letters and they are a tad erratic but I won’t spam you or sell your emails. Come sign up here. I’ll have a new one out this week.

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