This year we're doing something different. First, I'm going to try to be less sporadic with these things and second, I'm going to try to talk a bit about what it's like being a journeyman in the field of fiction writing. Some of my friends are adepts (or, at least, far further along in their careers than me) and their insights are often quite helpful. However, there's not a lot out there about what it's like to be not-quite-there yet. Wherever there is. So, I'm going to discuss that sort of thing, as it occurs to me, and as it happens to me. Maybe it'll be of use to somebody. Maybe even me. The first thing I'd like to talk about is "breaking in." That's an interesting phrase as it implies several things which, depending on your outlook, may not in fact be true. is there a barrier to success as a writer that one must smash in order to get work seen and aid for? Well, in a way, i suppose. The actual writing is mostly not easy. There is stiff global competition in most markets or, sometimes, markets restrict everyone who isn't local from competing in favor of their own countrymen (Canada, I'm looking at you now). Sometimes there are gender or ethnic restrictions in a given market. But do these factors constitute a wall that must be climbed or exploded? No. I'm sorry. The answer is just "no." Not only do the vast majority of prose markets accept submissions from just about anybody (provided they are within word count and other market specific specs) but there are an increasing number of venues for those of us who also "do" comics and film work. Stage plays, also, can find a home in a lot of places around the country and the world. But you have to look, folks. There are websites and publications that can help you target markets for your work. Avail yourself. So, "breaking in," is less a matter of the handshake, the discovery at Schwabbs or the backdoor friendship and more a matter of generating material. You need to. That's it. you need to generate lots and lots and lots of completed work- a stable, if you will. There are no rules to what goes in the stable. If you like crime stories, write one. if you like romance, write that next. If you like comics instead of poetry, write a comic book script. You get the picture. But do it. I can't stress that enough. Writers write. If you are a writer you damn well better write stuff and I mean stacks. IOW: the wall is only there if you let it be. No wall, no breaking. The other truism is that writers like to whine and procrastinate. If you are a writer that almost certainly describes you too. It does me. You will find ways not to write. You will find hundreds of exotic reasons not to sit down and scribble or type while, at the same time, bitching the proverbial blue streak about the horrible fact that your genius has yet to be discovered. Stop it. I say that to you as a I say it to myself. Stop it. You are the engine and you are the drill and you are the oil and you are the refinery and you are the guy who brings the refined oil to market. YOU. Only you. So, get drilling. Just now I have four projects I'm meant to be working on (not counting several proposals that have to be completed and sent out) as well as participating in a contest so, as soon as this is done, it's off to work. One is a screenplay I'm weeks behind on, One is a novel I've just begun. One is a spec teleplay I've yet to begin and one is a book proposal for something I hope to sell. That's my next few weeks at least and, in about two minutes, I'll be on that. In the meantime I'm going to give you a couple of freebies, in case you don't already know about them, to get you going but, for the most part, I won't do that. Google is your friend. Figure out what sort of thing you like to write and start Googling places that might want to read it and their submission policies. be creative with your searches. It's your job to be creative so no whining about how hard it is. If you don't want it badly enough to do that, brothers and sisters, you don't want it badly enough. here are the URLS: http://ralan.com http://duotrope.com http://scriptapalooza.com http://www.2000adonline.com/ http://www.writersofthefuture.com/ Now get off your ass. I have work to do.