About a year ago, I sat down in the chair and got back to writing short fiction.
It is hard work.
People who think writing is about sitting and waiting for a muse or for some inspiration aren’t really thinking about writing. They’re thinking about some idealized notion of something.
Like anything else, inspiration comes from hard work.
Yes, the creative process can be unwieldy. Creative flow is a thing, and you find yourself in the middle of it at inopportune times. You have to work to get it back. Again, that word work. Creativity may be mystical, but it needn’t be mystifying.
Because this is hard work, breaks must be taken. And that’s when I tend to start submitting finished pieces around. Or write a blog post. Or, in this case, both.
When I’m as sure as I can be that something is ready go out and find a home, I submit to the biggest journals first. You know the ones. They’re the ones everyone knows. They get tens, maybe hundreds, of thousands of submissions a year. The process is long and your chances are slim. I hit them first, and I wait. A few weeks later, I might start submitting the same work to the next tier. This is all very subjective, of course. On and on it goes until a piece is accepted or until I have run out of journals that I’d like to see myself in. Between rounds, I keep reading and writing.
As for the lesser-known journals, there are many very good ones. Because it’s impossible to read them all on anything approaching a regular basis, everyone has some innate process for screening which ones might be good fits. Sometimes the name of a journal stands out, or sometimes a journal has the kind of aesthetic that probably means they put hard work into the entire process. Again, it comes back to hard work.
Good luck placing your pieces!