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getting down to business

May 29, 2009

I have been quiet here (and absent from reading and commenting most places) for the last week. I have been getting down to business — or trying to. I spent much of the time either sorting and tweaking poems or updating myself on guidelines and deadlines of journals where I’d like to see my work.

Finally, today, I gave a batch of submissions a final glance or two and sent them on their way. Six journals. Twenty-eight poems. Among the journals, one really big long-shot, one of those I can only dream about, but I sent five really strong pieces. In theory, they have the same chance as any of the other submissions the editors receive. In theory.

And among the poems, one I decided to resurrect from a few years ago, one I have loved a long time, one I worked hard on but never dared do anything with. It is a surreal version of the story of one of my best friends who lost her mother to cancer a few years ago. She and I are the same age. The images moved me long before I ever knew my own mother would die similarly, and since they still seemed powerful after everything that’s transpired (now that I know what the hell I’m talking about), I decided to send it off into the world.

I have been lamenting my procrastination (my pal Robert says, “ripening for action” is the preferred term) for at least a couple months. My last big publishing push was in December, and I was feeling like I just couldn’t face it — the editing, the judgment, all of it. Granted, I’ve had a few distractions and I’ve managed to write a fair amount, but I was feeling like I should be doing more, especially since I want to be a grown-up poet with a published book one day.

What finally convinced me was this: poetry is what I do. It is more than a hobby. It is (absent the prospect of raising children who do not wind up being criminals) perhaps one of my only accomplishments. I gave up my “real” career long ago. Poetry deserves care and attention and status in my life. It deserves more than being relegated to bent-up stacks of paper in a canvas tote bag from Disney. (I don’t even like Disney. In fact, I hate Disney. There. I said it. In public.)

I was also spurred on by two good bits of publishing news from past efforts. I’ll let you know when they come to full fruition. Good news always helps.

So I got my act together. Abandoned a submission-tracking spreadsheet that wasn’t working because I never updated it (me? spreadsheet? what was I thinking?) in favor of a more organic binder system with colored post-it notes. Visual glory. Ahhh! And I sent out batches of poems. And I’ll attempt a few more over the weekend.

And then I’ll edit the heck out of my manuscript. I’m going to splurge and enter two or three contests with upcoming deadlines. It’s getting wild and crazy over here. Plus, there’s the poetry. 🙂

  1. May 30, 2009 3:00 am

    I hear you on everything. But I need to do my push……I’ve been really lax at sending stuff off for the past couple of months and I need to get to it. You need the rhythm of envelopes on the mat, regardless of what’s in them. Good luck with it all.

  2. May 30, 2009 10:39 am

    I had a feeling your quiet was due to energetic focus. Yay, you!

    I’m in need of the same thing, although my push is a little later. I’m inspired by your organization and the very, very smart idea of revamping a system to suit your needs & style. Smart woman.

    I look forward to hearing the details of your good news.

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