Submit or Else

This week I’ve submitted ten different articles / stories for publication.  Two have been rejected, one has been tentatively accepted, and the other seven I probably will never hear about again.  I wrote a rough draft for a new article I want to submit but I’ll have to see if I have time to get it in before the deadline.

I have at least two more publications I want to submit to before I start looking at other projects.  However, I got an email from a publication which I would like to submit to for crocheting but I believe I would have to make the piece and send it in for this magazine so that may take a bit longer.

It feels good to get my work out there but I’m also prepping myself for the rejections that go with the submission process.  I’ve done a submission for some greeting cards and a regional poetry contest.  I’ve also submitted work to two other publications.

There’s always the hope that any of these submissions will not only get published but that I might also get paid for it.  Income from publishing is rare and hard to come by but it is a rush of pleasure when I do get paid for my work.

I’d like to figure out the best way to track leads.  I get a bunch of them but I either forget about them until after the deadline or I don’t get the piece done in time for the deadline.  It would be nice if I could figure out a way to track a lead, when stuff is due, what I submit, if it gets published and so on.  I’ve got a works list where I type in all the submissions I do but it doesn’t really fit the bill.  I need to find the right tool which will help me be more efficient with getting my stuff out there for publication. I might have to create a One Note notebook to help me with this.  I’ll have to think about it.

In the past I’ve had a paper copy of the articles with a post it on it to track when I submitted it.  This hasn’t ever worked well.  I’ll have to consider my options.

Midnight has hit.  I should probably head to bed as I have to go back to my day job tomorrow.  The writing bug has got me thinking about what I need to be a more efficient author though.  I guess I could sleep on it and see what my subconscious comes up with.

Universal Smackdown

I watched Princess which is a show with Gail Vaz Oxlade a financial advisor.  I record it and then zip through the commercials and some of the repetitive parts of the show.  The episode on Saturday was about a woman who basically mooched off everyone in order to do nothing.

She used the excuse of not wanting a 9-5 job because she was working on her singing career.  I couldn’t relate much to her.  She seemed like a spoiled brat to me who was more interested in what people could give her than making real relationships.

One thing I took away from the show though was at one point Gail told this woman that if she wanted to be a professional singer than she had to work at it full time. 

This is what struck me. I’ve been complaining about rejections and not getting published.  I’ve been feeling like my efforts have not been moving me forward.  I realize now that I’m just not working hard enough at getting published. 

No, I’m not going to quit my full time job with benefits to work at writing full time.  I cannot afford to do that.  However, I can afford to give up some tv viewing and work on writing.  I can afford to give up a bit of sleep to write.  I can spend more time submitting my work with regularity and purpose.  I can also be more selective about where I submit my work to.

Sunday I spent most of the day writing – either working on actual stories or submitting work to different places (watched the show while I ate lunch).  It felt good to dig in and get to work.  I enjoyed my time writing as always and even the submitting of work made me feel somewhat hopeful. 

So thank you universe for the two reminders that success at writing doesn’t happen instantly and that rejection is a HUGE part of moving forward in a writing career.

Kick in the Pants

I’ve been getting a lot of rejections and mostly I can take them but occasionally I feel like I’m just not getting it.  There is a tinge of discouragement.  Then something will happen – someone will say something or I’ll get a piece accepted – and I feel like I am getting it.  I watched the Talk when Kathy Ireland was on.  She made a statement that really touched home with me.  She said, “If you’re not being rejected regularly, maybe you’re not trying hard enough.”
In writing rejection happens more often than acceptance.  This statement made me realize that I’m not getting rejected daily and I get a handful of rejection at a time.  Maybe I’m just not putting enough of my work out there for consideration.  Maybe I just need to remember everything I’ve said about writing and rejections and keep moving forward. 
Every rejection is a new opportunity.  It gives me a chance to submit that work somewhere else.  It offers me an insight into whether I want to submit work to the publisher again or not.  Instead of whining about being rejected, I need to dig in my heels deeper and submit to even more places. 
I’ve read it, heard it from others, and now with this statement of Kathy Ireland’s it just drove the point home for me.  Rejection isn’t the end of the process; it is just the next step in the process.  

More Rejections

I’ve had a bit of success with getting a few things published.  However, it seems like every time I open my email I’m looking at more rejections.  I know they are a part of writing.  I know it usually isn’t the style and quality of writing but some days it is hard to take.
I’ve let the pile of rejections (if emails can be a pile) accumulate in my email account.  This weekend I spent a bit of time noting it in all the places I track the rejections.  I checked off the poems and short stories that were rejected.  It was almost cleansing to finally get rid of all the crap in my emails.  I spent almost two hours cleaning up emails and dealing with the rejections.
The rejection is hard but I’m trying to look at it as an opportunity.  I have several dozen prospective publications where I can submit my work sitting on my desk.  I just need to get through the stack.  These rejections allow me to send those items back out into the world and see if someone else is interested in them.  This is really not a rejection per se but an opportunity to place them somewhere else.

Working on Writing

This weekend I was determined to get through my pile of submission guidelines.  I was supposed to submit something to every single one I had.  All you experienced writers stop laughing – I might have done it.  Okay so I didn’t.

I did go through and submit a large number of fiction and poetry to a variety of places.  It was so much easier now that I have things organized the way I want them.  I was able to just grab a stack and work.  However, submitting work is never as straight forward as just attaching a file to an email. 

No you have to research and look at the type of work that the magazine publishes.  Then you have to figure out which of your pieces best fits the criteria.  You have to read it and make sure it doesn’t need editing, make sure it follows the guidelines that they set down.  Some of these guidelines are as simple as we want fiction to as complicated as a nuclear bomb. 

If you are submitting poetry some want it in the body of the email, others want it to be one file.  You have to follow their guidelines to the smallest minute detail.  If you don’t, you are rejected.  Hell even if you do, you are often rejected. 

I got 35 items submitted this weekend and I’m only about a third of the way through my stack of guidelines.  One of which has already been rejected.  I’ve also discovered a new place to look for leads for publishers so I have to now find time for that too.  I know I got a lot done this weekend but I still feel like I have just scratched the surface.  Perhaps because my pile of guidelines is still too large and there seems to be no end to the possibilities. 

If only I could go without sleep I could get so much more done. 

Creative vs Business

And now for a slight break from the drama and stress of politics…

Writing is a dual process.  You have to be creative to create the product but you also have to be business minded to market your work.  The creative side sort of takes care of itself in my mind.  There are times I sit down and say – let’s try something new.  I’ll pull out my poetry book and try a new type of poem.  Or I’ll go to a publication I don’t normally write for and try their style.  Flash writing for me is quite the challenge.  I LOVE words so I’m not likely to tell you there is a blue sky.  I’m going to tell you about the clear cerulean endless expanse dotted with puffy billowy white clouds.  Flash writing is typically a very small number of words – 500 or less is very common.
Marketing and the business side of writing is a bit more difficult.  You have to find the places that publish the work you produce.  Then you have to follow their guidelines (don’t bother sending if you aren’t following them).  After an interminable amount of time you find out whether they accept your work or not. 
You also have to put your creative self away when you get the notice because most of the time it is NO.  They don’t tell you why – they just say no.  You have to have a thick skin here because I’ve had rejections from sweet and kind to completely bitchy.  One of the things you have to realize is that in a magazine there is a limited number of spaces they fill.  If it is a big publication maybe ten, for these ten slots, they get hundreds (perhaps even thousands) of submissions.  You are one very small submission.  Your article, story, poem – whatever – may have been perfectly lovely but there were a lot of other ones that were just as lovely.  The lesson here is “do not take it personally”.  It is just a business decision.  Move to the next publication that fits the item.  Keep trying – even if it seems hopeless. 
The problem here is there are only a finite number of hours in the day.  If you are like me – you have a day job, family and other obligations.  Sleep is important… I guess.  You have to find a balance between your writing tasks.  For me this is one of the hardest things to do.  Sometimes I’m just in the mood to write and to hell with everything else.  I just want to work on what I want to work on.  I don’t want to deal with the editing, marketing, etc. 
This means time management is a key skill to employ.  It is one I’m still working on.  One thing I do is when I have very limited time, rather than start writing when I’m not going to want to stop, I’ll work on those marketing tasks, editing tasks and so on.  If I’ve only got an hour, I’ll look at my submission guidelines and try to find a piece that will fit without me having to write.  If there is one then I work to make it fit the guidelines.  If there isn’t one – I put it in my to do pile (which is WAY too big). 
I have a day job so my breaks / lunch time activities sometimes include editing and other writing activities.  Because it is a shared break room I often end up doing more of the business side of the writing during this time.  I try to make the most of my time but really there are just times I want to be a veggie and hit my recliner…