Welcome to the first Writer Interview on the Peeking Cat blog! We’re starting off this new series of interviews with some words from the man who inspired me to start this. Michael Lee Johnson is a prolific writer who has been published in Peeking Cat Poetry Magazine several times and has had hundreds of poems published over the years. Learning about how widely published he is, I wondered what his process is when it comes to submitting his work to literary magazines. I thought an interview would be the best way to find out and share this knowledge with Peeking Cat readers, and so the first interview was born. And then I thought how interesting it would be to hear from lots of different writers and find out what motivates them, how they feel about writing, and what their writing dreams are. So every week we will be posting an interview with a different writer. With no further ado, here is the interview with Michael Lee Johnson!
Who says you have to have a pen in your hand or a Word document open in order to be productive? You might be in a place or situation where you’re not able to sit down and write uninterrupted, you might be stuck on where to take your story or what to write about next, or maybe you just need a break for a while. There are ways to be productive even when you’re out and about, at a friend’s house, shopping, or in bed. Here are seven ways you can keep those creative juices flowing:
One of the things I sometimes struggle with is coming up with new writing ideas that nobody else has written about before. More than once I have explained one of my plot ideas to my partner, only to be told that a writer or movie maker has already beaten me to it and created something very similar. In fact, there is an argument that there are actually only seven plots in literature: overcoming the monster; rags to riches; the quest; voyage and return; comedy; tragedy; and rebirth. Every story is said to stem from these themes. There are around 130 million published books in the world (depending on what your definition of a book is), and that is perhaps a rather reserved figure as it was suggested in 2010. So what’s the likelihood of anyone thinking of a new idea that hasn’t already been done?
Submitting to literary magazines can be a bit of a minefield, to say the least. Literary database Duotrope has around 6,000 poetry, fiction and non-fiction publications listed on its website, and there are probably many more in existence that aren’t listed in this directory. Some are online only, some only appear in print, some don’t accept email submissions, some are only open to writers in particular geographical locations or with specific demographics. Each one has its own requirements when it comes to format, word or line limit, simultaneous submissions, and more.