Friday, October 28, 2011

Publish or Perish

Last December I joined a Facebook group for aspiring writers.

Publish or Perish.

The group was fairly self-explanatory. I pledged to take my writing more seriously, to finish the projects I started and to actually edit and submit my work for publication upon it’s completion. In exchange, the group offered a forum in which to communicate with other writers in the same position, a place to vent, moral support and a clearly defined goal.

Publish one story, just one, in a major print magazine over the course of calendar 2011. How hard could it possibly be? I had a whole year in which to do it!

I figured the group would give me the kick in the pants I needed to get some pages written and it honestly has. I’ve gotten more work done this year than I ever have, and I credit the group with a large part of the motivation that took. I’ve kept up my friday flash stories week after week, expanded them from drabbles to stories of 500 to 3000 words, and even have my first novel outlined and ready to begin drafting come November. I’ve placed stories on a number of online magazines and podcasts, including appearances on some of my favorite audio fiction ‘casts. Hearing my work performed makes me prouder than I can say.

But I still haven’t placed a story in a major print magazine.

I’m doing my best not to worry about it, but sometimes I can’t help it. The twelve month deadline the group imposed seemed like forever when I joined up, but now it’s nearly November and, while I’ve accomplished a lot, the one hard, fast goal they established continues to elude me. I’ve even started having stress dreams about the deadline, now only two months away.

Which I understand is dumb. Stressing out never helped accomplish anything. But I can’t help it.

After all, they made it perfectly clear what was expected of me. Publish one story, just one, in a major print magazine over the course of calendar 2011. And they made the consequences of failure equally clear. I mean, it was right in the name of the group, and I did join of my own free will…

I do still have two months. I’m still writing, and improving every day. I’m still editing and submitting, and it’s certainly not too late.

But, in the meanwhile, I’ve bought a gun.

Just in case.


  1. From what I've read here and there about writing and establishing goals, Munsi, you made the one critical error. You can't establish a goal that isn't up to you to fulfill. You can make a goal of submitting ten stories, or a hundred, or a thousand. But you can't make an editor accept your work, so how can you make that your goal? It's almost like making the goal to win the lottery (a little harder than getting published but...). You can buy all the lottery tickets you want, but it's still the luck of the draw.

    And now it sounds like you'll be paying with your life. Sorry man.

  2. Chris, you have written such a magnificent and believable piece of fiction here, fiction always works best when it reads like the truth, doesn't it?

    But just in case....

    Throw all the bullets into the river!! :)

  3. I will NOT get rid of the bullets! I have a right to defend myself when the other members of the group come for me!!!

  4. Do you intend to shoot the group?
    Demanding bastarsd - they deserve all they get!

    Sounds like my writing group only nicer :)