Achieving a Balance in Literary Magazines

Achieving a Balance in Literary Magazines
Image: Eden Arts

Finding the Time
That’s me on the full 8am till 5pm day shift for the rest of the week—the holiday is over. What it means is I lose time on other projects because I don’t have time to write before I start work and I don’t get home until at least 6pm. There needs to be some downtime and food, so I only really get about 3 or 4 hours of writing time in the evening, assuming there’s nothing else happening.

There’s nothing much you’ll want to hear form the day job—what with this being a supposed writing blog and all—but you’ll be glad to hear my evening went very productively, if not quite short compared to the last three days.

Editing the Ranfurly
The bulk of my evening was given over to catching up on the administration of all of the submissions received into the Ranfurly Review. This inevitably means sending out a lot of rejection slips (I hate doing that—worst part of the job) and then allocating the accepted pieces to an issue.

Now this is harder than it sounds. It’s not simply a case of just filling up the issues, first come first served, there are several aspects to take into account. The Ranfurly doesn’t run on a themed basis but you do want to give each issue a good balance. If you should happen to notice an underlying theme in any of the pieces it can be good to bunch these together, otherwise you just end up with a disjointed mish-mash.

Then there are the ratios between fiction and poetry. Generally I try to keep to 7 poems, 3 flash fiction and 2 short fiction, but I’ve started to take 3 short fiction now and the odd 4th flash. Flash is hard to come by (that’s any good) so when you come across the good stuff you end up assigning it to issues way in advance just so you can get a contract signed. It’s worth it in the end.

Anyway, all this takes time and as much as it is a labour of love, it does eat into my own personal writing time, which is probably the reason why I fall behind in it so often.

Trees for Life
I worked further on the poems I’ve been developing for the Trees for Life exhibition. I like them a lot but I’m finding it tough to narrow them down to just for. I need the four picked to be the perfect reflection of what nature means to me and for that to be encapsulated entirely within each hand-picked word. I’m close, very close.

Story Shop Application
I prepared and sent off my Story Shop application for this year, my second attempt at getting in. It’s a programme run by the City of Literature Trust, where emerging writers get to read their work at the Edinburgh International Book Festival in August. This year they have moved it to Book Festival’s Spiegeltent, complete with stage and microphone (it used to be in the bookshop), which gives it even more of a central focus. Fingers crossed—I know from last year that the quality of applications is very, very high.

Until tomorrow, peace out!

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About Colin Galbraith

Keen runner, thriller author, Madness fan, Mets fan, St Mirren fan/owner, rabbit tamer, outstanding fake faller. Loves cannolis & espressos. #LFGM
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2 Responses to Achieving a Balance in Literary Magazines

  1. Flash fiction is hard to write, so I’m sure it’s hard to find enough good pieces. Every word has to prove it has a right to be there, no room for tangents the way there sometimes is in a novel.

  2. Lara says:

    Isn’t that the “Great Challenge” for any writer who doesn’t write full time? FINDING the time to write.

    Highly frustrating when Life gets in the way, isn’t it?

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