When I first started writing and submitting fiction, more than thirty-five years ago, I was only interested in short stories. I tried my hand at a novel, but after writing 10k words (on a manual typewriter) I lost all faith in it and tore it up, frustrated that I could have written a couple of stories in that time. If I'd continued I might have ended up with a novel that would never have seen the light of day as opposed to 20 stories and the hope that at least some of them would have found publication. It's impossible to make a living out of writing short stories, but back then that wasn't the aim; all I wanted was to get some publication credits.
I've written SF, horror, fantasy, crime, Sherlock Holmes tales, Doctor Who stories, and fiction tied to games. There was a time when I was regularly receiving invitations to submit to anthologies and the list of credits grew longer.
Somewhere along the way I started writing longer stuff and took the plunge to give up a day job I was no longer enjoying. I was producing stuff under my own name, in collaboration with others, and as a ghostwriter, but the short stories came along far less frequently. Last year, the only short story I had published was a story that had originally appeared in my collection Always a Dancer & other stories (Fox Spirit 2016). There was plenty of longer stuff, even though my own name didn't appear on much of it, but no new short stories.
This year, things are going to change.
I've challenged myself to write and submit at least one story every month in addition to the other work I already have lined up (and there's plenty of that). I have no intention of writing these stories for nothing, but I'm happy to write for markets that pay at least a token payment plus contributor's print copy if there's a theme that grabs me. If I am fortunate to place any of these stories I'll buy a new piece of art for my office, if I'm not I'll doodle something on a postcard and stick it up on the wall just to remind myself.
I already have a few deadlines pencilled into my diary for anthologies that I'd like to submit to, and if there are any editors who are working on projects this year and would like me to try my hand at something please get in touch.
So why am I telling you this? Well I figured that if I wrote my plan down I would be more likely to stick to it. It would be great if I reached the end of the year in which I celebrate my 60th birthday with enough stories to fill a new collection, even better if some of them had already found homes! I'll try to leave a monthly update to keep you up to date wit how I'm doing.