The class selections for the Cape Cod Writer’s Conference were great. I struggled to narrow down my selection to one and wished I had the money to take them all. But I settled on “Pen to Periodical,” a class focused on finding a market for short work. I received an email from the teacher on Tuesday. She wants all of her students to come to class with three polished pieces. Three pieces ready for publication.

My first thought wasn’t a polite one.

I’ve spent the majority of my very limited writing time over the past year working on pieces of drafts of novels. I could count number of short pieces I’ve worked on–never mind finished–on one hand. Combing through the pieces I’d written during college isn’t an option as I don’t know if that old laptop would turn on anymore. Plus I don’t have enough confidence in my English thesis to retype an essay from that.

Panic hadn’t quite set in when I realized that I could use a short piece on the Roanoke Star, a product of the travel writing class I took last winter. Plus I did just finish the rough draft of an article on a local Civil War soldier. Sure it needed work, but polishing a rough draft didn’t take nearly as much time as starting from scratch.

So I had one and a half pieces ready for class. I needed to start the third, but I had to make a decision first. I’ve always considered myself a fiction writer. Only recently have I begun writing non-fiction, and I didn’t want everything I brought to class to be an article.

Wednesday night I researched and began tapping away on my keyboard. I’ve less than five hundred words written. I’m crossing my fingers that I can speed up the process to have it complete by Sunday morning so it’ll have a full day to settle in my mind before I dash through revisions Monday morning.

This whole experience has taught me a valuable lesson. If I’m going to be a writer with multiple published works, I need to write short pieces as well as long ones. I need to write a variety of things if I want to be known in a variety of fields. I need to sit myself down, and I need to write like crazy.

That’s all from me for now. I’ve got to get back to writing.

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