Back to the Drawing Board


Via Raising WEG, here is a hysterical piece from The Onion about the election of the first black president. It’s about sports, but it’s not about sports. Does that make you more likely to read it?

So, now, back to writing.

I pretend to write creative nonfiction, i.e, personal essays, i.e., pieces where you are mainly telling the truth but might tell it creatively enough so that reasonable people could disagree as to whether you are lying your ass off. Most of what I write is true-ish, a teeny tiny bit isn’t, but it’s difficult to tell what is true, and what is an ever so slight exaggeration of the truth. Put it this way, remember when Oprah railed on that guy who wrote A Million Little Pieces? Well, some day, if I’m very, very lucky, I, too might be attacked viciously by Oprah Winfrey on national television. I can’t even imagine that kind of tremendous success. I should be so lucky.

I started writing in regional parenting magazines — those free magazines that you see in bins outside of grocery stores. It’s a great paid market, and because it’s regional, you can sell one article repeatedly. The problem is, is that it’s not the best market for creative nonfiction. First, the market does not cater to creative nonfiction. They publish maybe one creative nonfiction piece per issue. And because they don’t focus on creative nonfiction, I wasn’t really networking with people who knew where my writing was better suited. Second, creative nonfiction pieces in regional parenting magazines need to be fairly short. Most of my pieces are just too long, and if cut to fit the word count of a regional parenting magazine, they just don’t make sense.

So after a few moderately successful years at writing for regional parenting magazines, I decided to look around.

Oh, and I’m still looking. So, if you have any ideas for where I can place personal essays, I’d appreciate your suggestions. I know of a few dozen, nonpaying markets, and a few paying markets. (I recently had a piece up on mothering.com — they paid $100.) But otherwise, given the # of times I get rejected (think of a percentage somewhere in the high 90s), I really could use some more ideas for placement.

I’ll leave you with this great guest post from Scribbit. I love reading about how people fit time in to write. It’s very inspiring.

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One thought on “Back to the Drawing Board

  1. $100! Sweet!

    I’ve not published personal essays, though I love to read them, but have you thought about literary journals? They might call it creative nonfiction, but there are lots of em out there that publish them. You can find directories at the website for Poets & Writers magazine. And you’ve been in anthologies, right? Like Seal Press type ones? Those are usually good personal essay markets, from what I hear.

    You may have already tried these markets, so if so, feel free to ignore me :).

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