Nancy's Books

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Writer Motivation/Calls for Submissions

Last Saturday, I spent the day at the Kentucky Book Fair meeting and talking with authors and readers extraordinaire. The experience was fun, exciting, informational, and motivating. Many of the people I talked with were interested in writing children’s books. Some had experienced rejection numerous times by publishers. The recurring question was How do I stay motivated to write when I cannot get published?

I understand that question completely since contracts don’t come easily for most writers, including me. Here are a few tactics, some psychological, I use.

1. Avoid negative thoughts. I’ll never get a contract or My writing is as good as another author’s work to bring us down emotionally and do nothing to foster our careers as writers.

2. Read like a writer. If you read another book and like it, try to figure out the techniques used by the author to draw you into the book. If you don’t like a book, try to determine what doesn’t work with the writing style.

3. Write a logline, a one-sentence description, of your story. This is your road map to keep you focused so you won’t veer off track.

4. When you get to a place in the story and don’t know what to do with a character, don’t freeze. Think logically about what the character would do or add another problem for the character to overcome and set the character free to choose different courses of action.

5. Get the story written. Don't over analyze, revise, or judge the manuscript until it is written. Then you'll have time to make it shine.

Next week, I’ll include more tips to keep writers excited about their work.

Call for Submissions for Adult Writers:
The Iowa Review receives unsolicited submissions only September through November. The journal “publishes short stories, flash fiction, graphic novels, self-contained novel excerpts, and plays; poetry of all kinds, including verse plays and longer work; and all manner of creative nonfiction, including personal essays, lyric essays, memoirs, and literary journalism. We pay $1.50 per line for poetry ($40 minimum) and $0.08 per word for prose ($100 minimum).” Also pays for interviews (query first). NB: “We have begun publishing reviews of book-length fiction (novels, short story collections, plays, and graphic novels), literary nonfiction, and poetry on our website, with the goal of helping new and emerging writers develop an audience.” For reviews, payment is $50, and reviews are accepted year-round. “TIR often receives complimentary review copies. If you’re having trouble coming up with a title, we’d be happy to suggest
Details at

Call for Submissions for Student Writers:
Highlights for Children

Ages 2-12: short stories, art, poems, jokes and riddles
803 Church Street
Honesdale, PA 18431
Details at


  1. I was at the Book Fair too! It was my first time there as a seller and I had a wonderful time.

  2. I wish I had known. I would have enjoyed talking with you. Glad you had a wonderful experience.

  3. Fiona, what is the title of your book/books?

  4. Love the article, Nancy. Motivation is such an important issue for writers. Writing is a lonely endeavor sometimes and we have to be our own best friend. Here is a list of 57 writer affirmations I have compiled and shared with other writers. I hope your readers and you find them useful.

    All the best,


  5. Thank you so much for the writer affirmations. They are definitely useful.