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Should I Reup my Duotrope Subscription? (a.k.a. The Year in Writing)

Right now, I’m thinking no. Just from a cost-benefit analysis, it’s not worth it. The subscription costs $50. I sent out twenty-five submissions and got only one acceptance. It seems like response times are getting longer, guidelines are harder to find, and more frequently I need to poke editors to find out where they’re at. The whole process is annoying (not to mention my workplace blocks half the sites behind their proxy for no goddamn good reason).

Not to mention, I’m not writing many short stories. I never have been. Never been interested. I thought they were a way to fill a resume, but no one seems to care. I only completed one this year. Not to say I haven’t been writing some short fiction, but they either died on the table or… ahem, aren’t appropriate for general audiences… or specific audiences… in fact, they’re oriented to quite a limited, devoted audience, if you know what I mean. Like that even publishing it on Amazon could get me banned. Ahem.

If I did something like take a class or join a writing club, something that lets me work on short story craft, I might come back. Definitely not closing the door on short stories. But I need a bigger stable to make it worthwhile. Plus I’d rather write novels than short stories any day of the week. I would be happier if I could complete three first drafts for novels this year than ten finished short stories.

That was the final nail in the coffin for realizing it wasn’t worth it. I get more pleasure writing novels anyway and this year has been all about increasing joy. Getting that happy feeling from writing because that’s been damn hard to do (and because otherwise, what’s the point?).

This year consisted of climbing back up from my pit of despair. All I wanted to do was get back to writing a thousand words a day and do that consistently. I think I’m just about there. My next novel, I’ve been working on since the beginning of October and now have more than 50,000 words (of a hopeful 90,000). I don’t always get a thousand a day, but it’s something. And half the battle is getting butt in seat and not watching YouTube videos.

Others have relayed the same despair (like John Scalzi and Wil Wheaton) so I don’t feel alone. 2017’s not been kind to creativity. But still, I feel like I did better in 2017 than 2016. No new completions to speak of, but I’ve been keeping the chain going, making a new link every day.

I hate it when it comes to Christmas card writing time and I realize that I can’t write “I got an agent this year” or “three book contract” or “look for XYZ on shelves this season!” I feel like I’ve down my family and myself, that I’m not accomplishing goals. But the road is long and if I can’t reach the destination, I might as well enjoy the walk.

Eric Juneau is a software engineer and novelist on his lunch breaks. In 2016, his first novel, Merm-8, was published by eTreasures. He lives in, was born in, and refuses to leave, Minnesota. You can find him talking about movies, video games, and Disney princesses at http://www.ericjuneaubooks.com where he details his journey to become a capital A Author.

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