SmokeLong Quarterly

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Thank you to SmokeLong Fellow Chey Dugan

July 2, 2024

First, thank you so much for all the work you’ve done during your fellowship. You’ve read nearly 500 submissions, which is a ton of words. What have you learned from reading the SmokeLong submissions queue?

The submissions queue showed me what works in flash. It demystified the “behind-the-scenes” of lit mags, what readers see when you submit and the way that readings can be tiered. It really is subjective what works for someone in terms of story, but when it comes to the craft of flash, that can be felt almost immediately. I became a stronger reader and I loved championing a piece if I felt a connection to it.

SmokeLong fellows commit to sending two drafts each month for feedback from our senior editors. Were you able to keep up with this pace? How has your writing life changed during the fellowship?

Considering the amount of work I was generating in SmokeLong Fitness, submitting two drafts a month for feedback was an easy task to keep up with. The feedback I received was invaluable to me as a writer. I was able to see certain mistakes I tend to repeat — I just knew something wasn’t working and the editors would very efficiently call it out. Through editor feedback and SmokeLong Fitness, I’ve learned flash-specific craft, but also general fiction craft that I hadn’t picked up before because I didn’t pursue an MFA. The fellowship helped me structure my day around writing and taught me to show up to the page even when I didn’t feel the motivation to write. That’s when some of my favorite pieces emerged.

One of the most important things about my writing life that has changed is the community I’ve been introduced to through the fellowship. There’s many awesome writers in SmokeLong Fitness that I’ve become friends with. It’s amazing to watch their achievements. To be surrounded by their talent and ambition has been very inspiring.

What good things have happened to you as a writer since you began the fellowship?

I’ve written more stories than at any other point in my writing life. I’ve finally established a writing routine that feels sustainable. I was awarded an Honorable Mention and a Finalist spot for the SmokeLong March Micro Competition. I submitted a few of my flash fiction pieces to the Iowa Writer’s Workshop summer program and got accepted! I attended this workshop in May 2024 and have continued growing my community of writers, now friends.

Thank you for your enthusiastic engagement in SmokeLong Fitness during the fellowship. Your energy really benefitted the workshop. Can you share a bit about your time in SmokeLong Fitness?

SmokeLong Fitness gave me access to a community of very talented writers and created accountability, which were two things I was lacking before the fellowship began. The writing prompts taught me many things about craft that I just didn’t know before. Fitness kept me productive in my writing life and I now have many new stories to take with me into the world. Also, I feel like I’m much better at providing helpful feedback to my writing buddies — a skill that was developed here and will follow me through life!

As your fellowship nears its end, what are your plans?

I’ll be staying in contact with all the people I’ve met over the course of this fellowship. I’ll keep writing one flash a week, maintaining this pace as I have done over the last six months. I also plan to finish my debut novel. Who knows, you may even see me again in SmokeLong Fitness.


Chey Dugan is a writer born and raised in the border city of El Paso, Texas. She is a recipient of the 2019 New Mexico Women in Film Scholarship for her script “Skeleton Key”. Her work is published or forthcoming in The Amazine. Chey Dugan resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she steals time to write while raising her three children and is currently completing her first novel.


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SmokeLong Fitness--The Community Workshop

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Included in the price of SmokeLong Fitness:

The Community Workshop in small groups
One live Zoom webinar each month with killer workshop leaders (recorded for participants unable to attend).
One open-mic party each month (or other live Zoom events)
Discounts on intensive workshops
Discounts on senior editor feedback
Surprises (good ones)