Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Which Way Did He Go?

There are times where I truly feel like the old Far Side cartoon called "How To Blow A Fisherman's Mind", in which you have a fisherman paralyzed with inaction 'cause the eternal question "Fish or cut bait?" is racing through his head.

Well, if you substitute fisherman with writer and add one more item to the equation, you pretty much get the dilemma I currently find myself in.

"Write, or submit short story? Write or submit novel?"

Considering that I'm pretty good at multi-tasking, this should be ridiculously simple for me to execute, right?


1}Write! This should be a no-brainer as the current project that I'm working on, I actually like working on because I'm seeing a wealth of possibilities not only with this story (of which I have about 25K words written), but possibly connecting another story with it as well. So even though I'm gung ho about working on it, I can't help but feel a little guilty about working on it.

I mean, as I'm writing it, I have this little nagging doubt in the back of my head that I really should be concentrating more on submitting my work for publication and less on writing even though most people say you should keep on writing while you're waiting to hear back on your submissions. So I frequently stop my writing to work on my submissions.

2}Short Story Submission! Okay, this one is also a no-brainer in that the more stories I can get published, the more writing credits I can show when I query my novel. However the problem now becomes trying to find a proper home for my short stories. Why is this a problem?

Well, it's a problem simply because most of my short stories defy easy classification and instead get lumped into the catch-all genre called "Quirky" (see the links for both of my published short stories as prime examples of this quirkiness).

Now if you take the fact that most of my remaining completed short stories fall into the "Quirky" label and couple that with the fact that I loathe doing research for appropriate markets, you can easily see why this is turning into a problem. Eventually I put this aside and turn my attention to the next thorny problem.

3}Novel Submission! This one should also be a no-brainer, but as I've mentioned over the years on this blog, I have a problem with the glacial response of the publishing industry as it pertains to queries. I also have the underlying problem of trying to properly define exactly what genre my current novel falls under. The initial classification I thought it fell under (Erotica), turned out to be an erroneous assumption. So thus I have to re-tool the query process by refocusing on what kind of publisher and/or agents I should tackler.

This also raises the question of how many queries should I have out there to begin with. I mean, how many is too many? Eventually I do stop working on this issue simply because I find it to be rather large hill that I'm too tired to climb anymore and thus I revert back to working on question #1.

However, working on writing does conveniently neglect and push to the side the issue of become a bigger success than I already am. On the surface, I'm overjoyed about the fact that I have two short stories published and that I'm a moderately successful blogger.

But then I'm always asking myself, "Do I want more?"

And the problem is that my answer winds up being the ultimate waffle.

"Do I continue to write for the pure pleasure of it or do I submit in order to better myself?"


  1. I vote for temporarily halting the writing, and submit. With that glacial pace you mention, it's worth it to get a few queries out there, then turn back to the writing while the clock ticks. To me, it just seems worthwhile to have a couple pots simmering at once. Good luck, hope you get many positive requests!

  2. Not to sound trite, but you follow your heart.

  3. IMHO writing for the joy of writing is always the highest good. Anything that brings more joy into the world benefits everyone, because joy is contagious. So is stress. Whatever you feel will be passed along to those closest to you, so for the sake of those you care about, do what brings you the most happiness.

  4. Joanne: It's definitely glacial as I try to squeeze out a paragraph or two during the spare free time during the week and weekend.

    Usually late at night is when the itch for submitting kicks in and I start to do research for markets to submit my stuff to.

    Lynn: It doesn't sound trite but sometimes it's really hard to follow your heart when it's being pulled in two very legitimate directions.

    S.R.: This is very true, but what gives me the most happiness is evenly splite between writing for the sake of writing and getting published. Fortunately though, the stress is all self-inflicted as I try not to let the quandry seep into other aspects of my life.

  5. Yeah I just find myself writing too and not sending anything out or promoting or any of that good stuff, oh well sooner or later I'll get around to it and I also have the classification problem.

  6. I'm in the same boat (not a fisherman, however.)

  7. Pat: It's kind of tough, deciding whether you should concentrate on writing or concentrate on marketing/promoting/submitting your work (in that same boat so to speak). And it would definitely be nice if I could narrow down my genre from "quirky" to something that isn't so niche.

    R: Sort of rowing up a creek with one arm tied behind your back, eh?

  8. Submit your best to magazines that you would like to see your work featured in.

  9. The submission process is such a horrific ordeal that the temptation to just ignore it and keep writing is very real. Joanne is probably right.

  10. David: Good advice, but for a newbie like me who only discovered the world of e-zines a few years ago and has only really tried literary journals from day one, it's definitely a daunting task to attempt.

    Basically it would mean trying to find e-zines that would suit my reading tastes (which are eclectic at best) and start reading them extensively.

    Mama Z: Yeah, the temptation is great, but the problem will always be not only finding that happy medium but actually doing that happy medium.

  11. Pleasure AND betterment together seem a mighty-fine choice. But put the pleasure FIRST!! All will fall into place then, my friend!


  12. Jannie: I sure hope they do young lady, I sure hope that they do.

    Hope you're doing okay out there in the land of plenty these days.

  13. I say submit if you have something ready now. And write while waiting. Good luck!

  14. Jewel: Thanks.

    I've been doing just that on and off. However, I still feel a little guilty in changing one for the other. Probably the perfectionist in me I guess.


Go on, give me your best shot. I can take it. If I couldn't, I wouldn't have created this wonderful little blog that you decided to grace with your presence today.

About that comment moderation thingy: While yes, it does say up above I can take it, I only use it to prevent the occasional miscreant from leaving thoughtless and/or clueless comments.

So remember, all of your comments are greatly appreciated and all answers will be given that personal touch that you come to expect and enjoy.

G. B. Miller

The Legal Disclaimer

All the content that you see here, except for the posting of links that refer to other off-blog stories, is (c) 2008-17 by G.B. Miller. Nothing in whole or in part may be used without the express written permission of myself. If you wish to use any part of what you see here, please contact me at