The deadline for the Palanca Awards, that bastion of Philippine literary nationalism, is on April 30 this year. In fact, the deadline's on April 30 every year; I actually hated the Awards for the longest time because they would never release any public notices on the contest -- despite their sense of tradition with regards to the submission date.
Sadly, I'm not submitting anything for the contest this year. I've noticed that the more years I spend writing, the more I wish to turn in a work that is worthy of its readers; Considering that the Palancas are supposed to be the foremost honor for generations of literary spectators, you can expect a lot of pressure on any story that makes it into their submission boxes.
Two years ago I considered submitting a certain short story to the Palancas. "Regiment" -- the piece in question -- had originally made it into Dean Alfar's first Philippine Speculative Fiction Anthology, and on top of that, I was getting overwhelmingly positive reviews on the story. I shelved the idea in the end, however, because I felt that "Regiment" still needed a good amount of spit-and-polish before I could offer it up for consideration. These were the national literary awards, after all, and I wanted my submissions to pass some very high standards.
This year I had three items for consideration, all of which were submitted to various literary searches over the past year: The second Speculative Fiction Anthology, The Digest of Philippine Genre Stories, and Psicom Publishing. Again, however, none of these stories was able to impress me after a few nights of re-reading... and thus I was left with the option to either write something completely new, or hand in nothing at all.
So now I'm going to forget about the Monday deadline and start looking towards next year. There are more than a few loose plot ideas that I'd like to explore nowadays, and quite a few calls for submission that are bound to come up. (Dean Alfar's got a third anthology coming, for example.) In addition, I'd also like to start exploring other avenues for fiction... like newspapers and magazines. I shouldn't limit myself to literary journals all the time, and besides, the additional exposure would be good.
Now if I could only find enough time after work...