An Occupational Hazard: Why Writers Resent Holidays

Let’s be honest.  We always become really committed to write, to create, to finally-put-that-great-story-idea-on-paper the exact moment that we can’t; namely, when we have other commitments be they to family, friends, traditions, dirty dishes, school, our bodies.  It’s convenient.  It’s certainly easier to glower and blame an early morning sunrise service, a parade, or a required family feast for intruding upon our precious writing time than to accept that there are a billion other vacant hours we could use for writing that we simply waste instead.  If we just empowered ourselves to push the power off button on the TV more often…

Fellow writers, don’t resent the fact that the kids have off from school today, that the pleasant weather is calling you outside, that you’ve been invited to a super time-consuming backyard barbecue.  Go do it, enjoy it, and–if it makes you feel better–know that you have another experience to file away in your pack-rat of a brain to use in future writings.

When you recommit to writing and submitting on Tuesday, consider today’s spotlight journal, Cicada Magazine.

Quick Info about Cicada

What they want:  fiction/non-fiction (up to 5,000 words), “Expressions” (350-1,500 words), poems (up to 25 lines).  The magazine is aimed at an audience of readers age 14 and up, so the material must be appropriate (some minor curse words allowed, but keep to a minimum; no suicide or rape) and applicable to readers’ experiences.  They’re interested in pretty much everything–realistic, contemporary, historical, humor, mysteries, fantasy, and science fiction–and are particularly craving some humor submissions.

How they want it:  snail mail or email.  Check out the website for further submission guidelines.

When they want it:  rolling submissions, anytime throughout the year.  Subject to change, though, because sometimes they close submissions for a few months.

How long they say it takes to get back to you:  within 12 weeks, faster if email submission.

How long I say it took for them to get back  to me:  27 days for a “good” rejection letter last time, currently waiting 14 weeks on two poetry submissions (upon realizing that it’s much longer that their promised wait time just this very second, now I’m worried that maybe they lost my poetry submissions.  Perhaps I should email them and check.  If I don’t hear anything from them by Tuesday night I’ll email them Wednesday morning.  Maybe the holiday messed with their reviewing schedule.)  All my submissions to them were via email.

Do they pay?  Yes!

I HIGHLY recommend (as I would with every magazine and journal) reading several copies before submitting.  Some local libraries have subscriptions, but if you can’t find any free copies, you can subscribe for not too much of an expense.  If you are committed to young adult writing, you really must be familiar with this journal because it’s one of the leading literary journals for the age group.  Don’t worry, you can always write it off on taxes.

Also, if you really like writing for children, but for a different age group, consider getting familiar with the whole Cricket magazine family:

Concerning their particular plea for humor of any brand, if you have it and you know it fits the age group, send it in!  Because they really need it, your story has a better statistical chance than general submissions for getting a big friendly acceptance.

Their website also has this awesome thing called the Slam where you can submit short excerpts of your writing to get posted and critiqued online by other writers and readers.  It’s competitive and not for the “faint-of-heart,” but you get good feedback and the magazine publishes the best of the Slam in one of the issues every year.

While you’re waiting to hear back about your submissions…distract yourself with a sunny parade.  Happy Memorial Day!

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