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Strategizing

Jacquelyn Bengfort

2013: not my best, most productive year, writing-wise. Can I pull the new motherhood card? (Pulled.) But looking back was sobering. At the start of 2013 I had three forthcoming works--a story, a play, and an essay. At the end of 2013 I had only a couple of submissions out for consideration and had managed to have only one additional story accepted for publication. Worse? I had hardly produced any new material. Hard to submit when you don't have anything you love to send out.

But 2014 is a new year, and I'm employing a few new strategies.

Submissions. My goal is to submit to one place per week. Even if I don't do simultaneous submissions, and at the moment I haven't, I'll still have more writing out in the world, crossing desks, than I did last year. In fact, in January I sent out more work than I did in all of the previous year. I've got eight little soldiers made of paper and ink, or, less poetically, made of 1s and 0s rendered on a screen out there fighting on my behalf. Some of these soldiers came out of a bevy of writing courses I took--very helpful when you're feeling blocked. (I've also received two rejections, already.)

Rejections. While we're on the topic, I've decided not to wallow. Since I'm not doing simultaneous subs at the moment, my new method is as follows. 1. Receive rejection notice. 2. Re-read rejected writing. Patch up any shoddy bits newly obvious. That day. 3. Re-send rejected, remodeled writing out to another possible publisher. That day. It's likely healthier than my old response, which was to spend several hours watching television and eating ice cream.

Hokey butt-in-chair trick. I don't like the phrase "life hacks." I put it right up there next to "selfie" in the "IRONIC USE ONLY" section. But...somehow the internet gods directed me in early January to this old Lifehacker post. And, yeah. It took me until the last week of the month to actually set up my calendars, but now, I've got momentum. I write five days a week (I also work on my house five days a week, exercise five days a week, and spend time working on obedience training my dog every day). It's been a week. But I feel good about where this is heading. Life: hacked. (Ugh.)

And, yes, today this post counts for my writing.

How is your new year shaping up? Any hacks (ugh, again) you're employing or strategies you hope will make 2014 a better one than 2013 was?