I Guess I’ll Figure This Out

I haven’t written for anything other than here in a few years now. I had a nice little run for a couple of years where I got paid for my writing.

I mean, I wasn’t going to get rich, but it’s nice to get paid for art. It feels good.

Turns out, if you stop submitting your writing, then that all goes away.

I decided I’d jump back in. I’m ready. I can be funny. I can be clever. I can be insightful.

I’ll just find a few places to submit to, then I’ll slip back into the habit. Just like riding a bike. Or maybe a tricycle. With a helmet. And perhaps covered in bubble wrap.

So, I subscribed to a newsletter that provided information on where to post your work.typewriter

You guys.

I’m out of touch.

I only understood every few words in the submission descriptions.

These aren’t the real sites. But this is how they seemed to me.

Insouciant Midwestern Swine. Canadian authors only. This publication focuses on the plight of people in the Southwest, excluding Phoenix, AZ, who want to keep houseplants, but inevitably end up killing them. Word count between 12 and 2915 words. Special consideration will be given to submissions that are exactly 778 words long, including half the title words. But only if it’s an even number. Titles with an odd number of words and the story is exactly 778 words long will be held up for ridicule. Pay: .000000000000000003 bitcoin.

Chains, Bubblegum and Postage Stamps. This is a horror anthology. There is no theme, other than there is a definite theme. We really are excited to receive work from people who stick to the theme. Even though there isn’t one. Please, no stories about dolls that come to life, because those stories really scare us. Pay: two cents per word or nothing, but we won’t come to your house and kill you.

Glitter and Cat Vomit. This is a quarterly poetry anthology. The only rule is “no rhyming”. This is a hard-fast rule. No rhyming. No internal rhyming. No external rhyming. No “rhyme rhyme” rhymes with dime. About this rule, we are super serious. Don’t submit rhyming and make us psychotically furious. We don’t care if you think this is spurious. We also enjoy the lead singer of Hootie and the Blowfish, Darius. Actually, if you write a poem with “glitter”, “cat vomit” and “Darius Rucker” in it, then it can rhyme. But you can’t rhyme “Rucker” with “Fucker”. C’mon. Don’t mess it up for everyone else. Pay: Subscription to Cat Fancy magazine and artwork made out of fur balls.

Old Ladies Who Want To Write But Don’t Want To Put In Any Effort. Do the words “speculative” or “pitch” make you uncomfortable? Do you feel out of touch and not sure what anyone wants to read? Did you spend 8 months in your bedroom because there is an apocalypse and now your anxiety and depression have taken over? Are you sincerely terrified of driving to and from work because it seems like everyone on the road are maniacs now? Did you recently go back to the office and it seems extra gloomy and tense which really doesn’t help with the whole “Getting used to going back to work” thing? Then this is the place for you. Don’t worry too much about content. Just wait for your husband to say something absurd and write about it. We’ll totally publish it. Pay: Negative calorie cookies and 1 free pass to administer karmic justice to the person of your choice.

So, anyway. I have no idea what I want to write about. I have no idea where to submit. But if that last one were real? I’d be a queen on that site.


Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels




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  • Hahahahaha! Ohmyword, it’s sooo true! I couldn’t understand the ones I found either.
    I’ll write for yours…
    778 words. I’m on it!

  • Can you remember how you started the first time? I would guess it would be trial and error, pretty much like it was then. You haven’t lost your brilliance, so (like a resume) just keep sending the stories out. Eventually one will get to the right place. Or write something else brilliant like your ‘things not to wear after 50’ and they’ll come to you! (Not that everything you write isn’t brilliant, because it is). And ignore the subscription requirements (unless they are (maybe) gender specific. If your writing is clever enough, they’ll find a place to show it off.
    Deep breath. Now hit send.

  • Submitting is hard. Not just figuring out where to submit, which is harder than Chinese algebra, but the actual submitting and then the waiting can be just fucking draining. And it seems like there are so many that ask for a fee. I don’t necessarily expect to be paid for my art, although it would be nice, but I’m a little suspicious of places that ask me to pay them just to consider my work. Back in the old days, before the internet, or at least when most stuff was still published in print, I also had a knack for going through the Writer’s Guide and submitting to places that had gone out of business. It happened so much I thought maybe I was responsible and thought about sending out letters that said, “How much is it worth to you for me to NOT submit here?”

  • Yikes! Hey, do not give up! When you do get paid, we will all have a virtual cocktail party in your honor! Hang in there, you’ll find the right site!

  • Ahahahahahaha! I just went through the same experience (and, I think, the same newsletter). I had no fucking clue what some of the sites wanted, and when I could figure it out, I was pretty sure it wasn’t what I had churning in my head. I decided not to write for anyone, and just keep writing stuff until a good match showed up. I ended up with a piece of flash fiction, and found a site that only does flash fiction, but apparently, I have to be contemplating suicide or have some past trauma that can be referred to in an angsty way, in under 1,000 words. I’ll keep looking. But it’s good to know I’m not the only middle-aged writer wandering the submission wilderness.

  • Tweeted. I did a search a month ago for women’s fiction, small pieces, etc. I found a few. I sent out a piece. Crickets. Then today I get an email asking me to subscribe to this place where I sent a piece. Okay. I can do that, but why don’t you treat submissions with dignity? Write back. Keep me in the loop. What a bad way to run a publication.

  • Reminds me a little of those bubblegum stickers you used to be able to buy in the seventies that were parodies of magazines. The two I remember are “Bitter Homes and Garbage” and “The New Forker” but there were dozens of them and I got in trouble for sticking them all over the inside of my bedroom door.
    As I recall lacquer thinner worked better at removing the glue than nail polish remover.
    Insouciant is such a great word.
    Glitter and Cat Vomit? There used to be a band called Glitter Mini 9 that I liked quite a bit.
    I don’t have any publishing advice, but I do have lots of encouragement… Encouragement? Really? Is courage a critical resource in short supply for publishing one’s writing? The way I remember it luck was key, and even that couldn’t keep my story from getting butchered by the well meaning editor…
    We got our shots and they take full effect on Friday, so there’s that, but PG&E is going to turn the electricity off tomorrow while they fix a broken pole or some such horse shit so today is for eating all of the ice cream…

  • Now see it’s simpler in the mystery world. “You gotta kill someone, but no kids or pets, oh and it has to be set in 1994 in Texas.” I can work with that!

  • Girl – if that last one was real, I’d be submitting.

    And the first one – I’m kinda in the southwest and I love houseplants but I’m more like a hospice…no, I’m a death camp, lets be real. They are perfectly healthy when they come to me. And I’m from Ottawa (IL) but people think i’m Canadian..

    Actually, if the subscription list is real, I need to do the same, because I’m barely writing on my blog (the last year was awful for writing) and haven’t submitted anywhere in a year.

  • I say write about what you want to, what you see and read, twitter? 😉
    I think that I have a little add or adhd, I have trouble concentrating on text. I try but sometimes, like on this post, I have to skim, reading the first sentence or two on each paragraph. I have to increase thefont size or force myself to read something fully.

  • Just write anything. I wrote a blog for an online game for about 5 years. Sometimes I would wonder what I was going to put in my article. Mostly I posted when there was a game update. Oddly I found that once I started I had more to say than I thought. Don’t worry about it being polished. You’ve written before and it will come naturally. Have fun with it.

  • I mean. I don’t read nearly enough of your writing. The world needs to have more Michelle. (And I’m familiar with that last one…stay away from them…)

By Michelle


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