Contribute? It never crossed my mind. They told me it is beneficial to research the market because I would understand the publication and what I could offer it, how I could contribute. But that’s if there were suitable publications. I fitted in quite well after all.
Yes my work is speculative meaning I submit and wait for an answer, whereas in the 2000’s I was more or less assured of a place. That might seem a step down — in terms of a career — but my writing has never been about a career. I am a contributor here, there, and everywhere, and some would say a canny one, and others uncanny.
There are jam sessions, which I always liked the idea of. Just jamming away, expressing creatively what’s on your heart, using instruments, be that a piano, a guitar, a drum. I reckon I have more writing jams than musical ones, although music and writing tend to intersect in some loose ways. Just pouring it all out over the keyboard without thinking about how it sounds or the structure. Anyhow, jams always sound good.
These days my writing sessions are shorter and more deliberate as I focus on one or two genres, write the rough drafts, edit thoughtfully, and watch it unfold. Short sessions, but productive and hopefully finding a place with a publisher.
Contributing has the share of busy times and quieter moments as far as I experience. There are the times when I may look for that next publication to contribute to. A contributor may have self-publishing work, but may keep on looking for that next traditional publisher, if it’s a nice fit.