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Notes from Ash Huang

2022 Writing and Submission Year-in-Review

In the spirit of finding…new places for the content I would have threaded on Twitter, I want this to feel informal.

Come on the journey out of curiosity, or push up those glasses and nerd out about writing with me. Let’s start with the cold hard facts, and then wade into the squishy stuff.

Note: I originally wrote this in November, but so much happened in December that I sort of had to re-write the whole thing!


This year, I aimed for 100 subs again. That includes short fiction for publication, mentorships, juried conferences, grants, and any other writing related opportunities.

The reason I do 100 subs is because I am a self-rejector. I’ve gotten a lot better but there’s certainly still times I look at a place and I’m like hmm, do they even read their slush, why bother, or, but is this piece 100% what they’re looking for?

I didn’t get to 100, I rarely do, but I’m pleased with my results:

55 submissions:

When I look at this and see 7 accepts (and 2 pending) I am very happy. When I see all the other stats, I am still happy, but I can appreciate, wow, that was a lot of work. I am also very appreciative of the kind and personal rejections I got this year. Some were differences in vision, others were great food for thought.

Here’s the accepts I can talk about publicly from this year!

Some Pretentious Experience

My tag-along Instagrammer in Hell short story in Alien Magazine.

You stand under the awning and eye the unlabeled doorbell, an s inked in beside the worn bronze button. You would never have a reason to be in this small alleyway, lined with shining boutiques that house nine or so purses, each the price of a car, with glass doors that shiver when the doorman opens them…There is no like the Styx, based on the Styx, inspired by the Styx on any of The Styx Experience’s marketing or website. Only, The Styx, The Styx, The Styx. What are you fundamentally lacking, that you can’t enjoy the playful make-believe pretension of it? You won’t enjoy this, you can’t. You are fine here on Earth. There is plenty left to see on the outer crust, you aren’t bored enough to need to tour the underworld, too.

Pickles Taught Me the Art of Self-Preservation

What I learned from my pandemic pickling habit, ADHD, and motherhood in Catapult Magazine.

I was not suspended in a timeless brine like my pickles. I was not a stoic javelin of cellulose waiting to strike a bored palette. My answers would not be in rigidity, in control.

2022 Diverse Worlds Grant

I’m so pleased to have won the Diverse Worlds Grant from the Speculative Literature Foundation for my novel-in-progress! Hopefully I will get to share this book someday soon…of course in book-time that means in like…2025 lmao

Roots. Wounds. Words. 2023 Retreat

I’m going to the Roots. Wounds. Words. Retreat in January for Speculative Fiction! Currently reading my cohort’s manuscripts and I just LOVE! Being in workshop, nerdvibes hello, so I’m very excited to have a writing only week soon.


The thing that’s really suffered is the reading! I wish I had more time to read fiction, I’ve mostly been reading memoir and essay since that’s what I can manage on audio (I posted every book I read in 2022 in a separate post!) It’s so much easier to write when I’m actively reading.

I was able to write a lot before rejoining fulltime work, and I need to reassure myself that I’m still doing decently. I can get a little too dialed in on fixing or optimizing, but I genuinely love writing. It’s one of the few places I feel comfortable and myself, my safe little blanket fort. So no matter what happens, cheesy as f as it is, I am ‘winning’ if I have the maximal time and ease to write. It’s nice to just enjoy it.

Next year I’m going to mostly be focused on getting my current novel in shape and sending it out (eek), but I have a pretty extensive list of subsequent novels (including a huge overhaul of the manuscript I was querying last year), stories, games, and other more mixed media type experiences. It will happen as it happens, I’m settled in here to kick some stuff off. I have a lot of short stories in my ‘to submit’ folder, so while I will happily write some, I’m now comfortable enough in the medium and what it means to me that I won’t need to do any specific challenges or anything—just what feels good and amuses me.

I would like to pull together a few essay pitches, though! I have a few ideas that I need to just sit down and write the pitch for.


It feels a bit weird to add this section, but to say I’ve been busy is an understatement. Between my fulltime daywork, parttime mamawork, writing, and the other things I’m trying to do, I’m just grateful I have what my fitbit calls, ‘giraffe’ sleep patterns. Apparently I’ve adapted to being extremely efficient with my sleep, falling asleep faster and getting more quality sleep in less time. Yay…I guess? cries in caffiene I definitely feel the hit this year to my executive function and managing my impulsive chaos energy.

But this is the reality of a creative life with my lovely kids (and I have it very good! Many many privileges including reliable, high quality childcare, a job where I’m home much of the week, decent health, access to lots of things). My life is awesome, but I never want to sugarcoat what ‘creativity while parenting’ is really like.

Because of the brain stuff, my body also just does not know what to do with good news, either. Every ‘hey we didn’t hate this, in fact we want to publish it’ has me running to the kitchen to down a full glass of ice water so my heart stops trying to come out of my ears. And then after I can actually get super excited lmao. I’m so much better at managing myself these days, but I have to spend a lot of time managing myself with everything I have going on. Basking in SAD lamps, going on 4 walks a day, chugging beverages at extreme temperatures. I’m doing the work! It’s just a lot.

I consider myself very barely in ‘perfectionist recovery’ and I have to just be like ‘it’s enough, it’s enough, it’s enough’ in so many parts of my life. I’m just hoping in the new year I can have a more relaxed energy around this, and that this management becomes more automated.

But! 2023 goals I’ll probably keep private this year, though I might detail some process stuff, like how I’m doing that goal setting, and any tools I’m using to do so. Ya girl loves a good process.

Happy 2022!! Hope 2023 brings you everything you need.