1:1000 is a fantastic online journal with the premise of turning a picture into a thousand words. They provide a gallery of images to choose from. You claim a photo and then submit a story that uses the photo as its inspiration. A friend suggested the website as a place to send a story that I've been having trouble placing. I decided instead to follow their creative model and write a story specifically from the photo I selected.
Uncle Pug is inspired by my real life uncle whose name was Pug. He was also an amputee and had a thing for Blanche Devereaux. Everything else in the story really just came to me from the image I selected, this wonderful shot of an old house taken by Garrett Carroll.
The entire process with the editorial team at 1:1000 was so much fun. They work almost like a workshop where each editor comments on the story's strengths and revision opportunities and then, if accepted, the writer has an opportunity to review those comments and edit the final draft. I found the experience to be more than just helpful for this piece, but it illuminated "ticks" of mine that I need to pay attention to in all of my stories. Overall, fantastic experience, fun editors, and, in submitting to them, I didn't break any of my submission rules (although they do not pay, they do not charge a fee either).
I am also blessed to have a short piece in the current issue of Tahoma Literary Review. I am full of emotion when it comes to this piece. Going through the experience of having this story published made me feel like a professional writer for the first time.
I say that for a number of reasons. First, there is nothing more professional than seeing your name in print, on REAL paper. Don't get me wrong, a byline is a byline and online is where its at. But, there is something tangible about a story on paper. I can touch it, hold it, press it against my face, smell the pages. Its special and the reason why I know physical books will never become extinct.
Secondly, I got paid. TLR is one of the few journals that strives to pay their contributors and remain transparent when it comes to their compensation practices. I didn't have to search Duotrope to find out whether or not they pay contributors. The editors have it all laid out in black and white on their website. I respect that so much. To me, it is an expression of how much they value their contributors AND those who submit to their journal.
Third, I felt like my piece was in great hands with the editors of TLR. They were pleasant yet professional. I also feel like they have done a marvelous job at promoting my work on social media and their website. I penned a blog post for them as well provided audio for my piece. They are the reason why I decided to finally get with it and join Twitter (yes, I am old). In fact, my experience with TLR has actually made me really consider what it means to be a professional writer, whether part-time or full-time (maybe, hopefully, one day).