Goal #1: SFWA membership.

June 4th, 2013

“Becoming a professional writer” is a little daunting. This is true even though I’ve been paid to write for many years now, and have a long list of professional writing credits to my name. The thing is, I’ve never published any fiction professionally — yet I intend to be a novelist.

(If you care to see some of the mini-fictions I’ve published on this blog, follow this link.)

New things, especially when they’re as risk-laden as publishing novels, can be scary if you tackle them all at once. For many people, these Big Projects are daunting enough that they never get started in earnest, much less see them through to fruition. Just think of all the people you know who would like to lose 50 pounds or pay off $50,000 in debt, but never create the necessary momentum.

To that end, I’m approaching my book-writing career in stepwise fashion. First up: becoming a member of the SFWA.

Finding a Convenient Milestone

I learned of the SFWA a few years ago via John Scalzi, whom I’ve met and whom I admire as a novelist, a blogger, and a person. John has served as SFWA president for a while now, and I like the direction the organization has taken under his leadership. (He’s rotating out of the presidency, but the observation still holds.)

While I’m sure I could go through my career without needing to be a member of any writers’ organization, this one seems like a good fit for me, and the membership requirements offer an excellent opportunity for setting an early milestone in my fiction-publishing career. Specifically, I need to publish three short stories in qualifying venues to join the SFWA. The main qualification is that the venues pay enough to meet the SFWA’s standard as proper professional venues, i.e., that they pay at least 5 cents per word.

Current tasks:

  1. Going through qualifying SFWA venues, noting terms of pay, preferred length of stories, and other relevant details for each venue.
  2. Going through my own draftwork to see what might fit best where, at least for a first round of submissions.
  3. Cranking ahead of draftwork to get the best stories ready for each venue.
  4. Submitting, revising, and re-submitting until I succeed.


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