Write It Sideways

Getting My First Short Story Published in Print

In today’s video, I’ll:

If you’ve been published in short fiction, please leave a comment below telling us a bit about your experiences.

Note – if the video is not displaying on this page, watch it on YouTube. You may also download and read the video transcript (PDF).

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Hi everyone, Suzannah here.

I just wanted to take a minute today and tell you a little about one of the achievements that I’ve had in my writing journey recently, and that was publishing my first-ever short story.

Now, the reason why it’s taken me so long to actually publish a short story is because when I was studying writing in school I was short-storied to death, and what I really really wanted to do was work on a novel.

So I started working on a novel and I completely forgot about short stories. It wasn’t until earlier this year that someone approached me—someone who produces a literary magazine—and said, “Look, would you like to submit something?” I thought, “Oh, do I have this in me?”

But I said ‘yes’, and I said I would get something off. I spent about 6 weeks on it. And as I was working on it, as I was researching the form a little bit more and reading more short stories, I actually fell in love with the short story form again. So although I still love my novel and I still want to be a novelist, I really did enjoy writing that short story. Since then, I’ve written a couple more and they’re on submission as well.

So, you can see the finished product here.

<shows copy of journal>

It’s called The Sand Hill Review, which is published in Stanford, California. Beautiful volume here. It’s got some beautiful artwork, full colour cover, beautiful artwork inside as well. It’s just a really nice thing to have. I got a couple of contributor copies to thank me for submitting.

The beautiful thing about it is that it’s something that I probably would never have done if I hadn’t been prompted. That’s just sort of a reminder for everyone out there: you may think of yourself as a novelist only, but don’t completely shut yourself off to the idea of writing a short story. And the other way around as well. If you’re a short story writer, don’t completely close yourself off to writing a novel one day. Or creative nonfiction or nonfiction. The possibilities are endless. Don’t put yourself in a box just yet, because you never know what you have inside of you.

Another thing I wanted to mention was that this story that I wrote called ‘The Third Day’ was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. The thing I wanted to mention about that is that there are those out there on the internet who would say, “Oh, that doesn’t mean anything. It doesn’t mean anything unless you win.”

I’m here to tell you today that it does mean something—maybe not to all those people, but it does mean something to a writer who didn’t think that they were able to write a short story at all. It also means you’re out there—you’re writing, you’re submitting your work. So don’t let anyone discourage you, If you’re a finalist in a contest or you’re nominated for a prize, and other people are tempted to tell you “It doesn’t mean anything,” —it does mean something. It means you’ve been hard at work getting your writing out there. That is the first step in getting yourself published.

If you want to hear any more about short stories–some advice I have—you can drop over to Writer Unboxed on July 23rd. I’ll be guest blogging there, and I’ll be talking about 5 Reasons Getting Short Story Credits is Getting Easier. I hope to see you over there in a few days.

I also wanted to mention that you’re going to have to expect more video posts these days from me because I’m having a bit of trouble with my wrists and I’m looking into some dictation software to help me out with that. All the work on my ebook, I’m doing a lot of typing and it’s taking a toll on my wrists. So do expect a few more video posts. I hope you enjoy them, and I hope to se you around Write It Sideways very soon.

Have a great day!

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