Submissions Challenge: The Prequel, Part Uno

Dec. 12, 2013

Am I ready? The prequel to the Submissions Challenge…

(Writer’s note: Apparently I was NOT ready, since I am now posting this three weeks after writing it! Oops! My bad. You know you were too busy to read it in December anyways! And me? Oh, there’s nothing like spending 5 hours (yes, FIVE hours) waiting in line for Santa two days before Christmas, so yea, I’ve been busy too!)Christmas at the mall

It’s been nearly 2 weeks since I finished NaNoWriMo and I thought I would sit with my new novel for a bit and work out some of the initial kinks. Well, I haven’t done that. I haven’t really done anything creative other than decoupage half a dozen paper mache letters to give out for Christmas.

(In additional creative crafting updates, I made 16 fleece scarves too! What??? I LIKE crafting! Though my hand will never be the same from cutting all the little fringe on the sides of SIXTEEEN fleece scarves!)

And I want to start my guitar challenge, but all that writing during NaNoWriMo made me really want to write more. Or at the very least, edit and submit some of my work. Because, well, no one gets published if they don’t send their work out! And so, since I received the fateful email that told me my poetry manuscript was rejected,


I now have a manuscript’s worth of poems that are free once again to go out into the great big world of literary magazines and contests and try to find homes.

And I should probably give many of them a last little edit (or several) since I’ve had several months to let them sit and wait. So, can I challenge myself to submit poems (maybe even a couple short stories) in the next 30 days and see if I can do it? I mean, really actually send them out? Fees, freebies, and what-have-you?

What would my goal be?

Submit 10 poems to 10 contests, and 2 short stories to 2 contests???

Okay, that’s it. I will let you know how it goes…

And then maybe you will see (if you didn’t already know) what a process it is to do this, which is why I don’t do it as often as I should.

First, there’s finding the contests. Ones that don’t charge a reading fee are first choice. Small reading fees next. Ones that give you a year free subscription with reading fee are good. Ones that feature  work similar to yours (mine!) should be included in the first choices.

Okay, so you have the contests you want to enter, now what? Oh yes, the poems! (And short stories.) Which ones? Which ones? Does the contest allow simultaneous submissions? Make sure to keep a spread sheet of what you (ME) sent where, and when you expect to hear back.

So, you (ME) have a list of what you want to send, and have cross referenced it with where you want to send it to…now comes the ugly details…sending that awful query letter, or whatever you call it. You  know, where you introduce yourself, name your work, toot your own horn, be brief yet interesting, even unexpected! Ugh. For someone who loves to write, this is no doubt the most painful part of submission in my measly opinion (I used measly in place of humble because humble is too predictable, and something us in the “literary” world call “cliche”, oh don’t I sound so high-brow??? Ha ha. Or not!).

And then…da da da dahhh! (That was the sound of trumpets, in case you didn’t hear right.) You (ME) click “send” on your email or on their submission form and hope you attached the right files, and hope you sent the right revision, and hope that they like it even though all of a sudden you realize that it’s NOT your best work, in fact it hardly qualifies as poetry or prose or anything! Ah!

Enter: Freak out time. This period will last until you (fleetingly) forget (yea right) that you sent your work out and you get an email telling you “Thank you” and you get all excited, until you see that BIG “BUT…” that makes it a polite rejection. Hey, at least they’re gentle.

So, this may be why I don’t submit stuff often enough. Or it’s the three kids that need all sorts of attention like meals personally prepared and served to them, clothes bought, laundered and folded (yea, I don’t put stuff away though), or the endless and painful homework help Monday-Thursday. And then there’s the cleaning. The never. Ever. Ending. Cleaning. Oh god, did I mention how messy kids are?Mess

How needy? How expensive? How cute? And loving? And sweet (when they’re not fighting)? And how I could almost forget about everything else in the whole world that matters because they are like (valley girl moment!) the center of my universe??? (Oops, another cliche! Damnit!)

But yes, I do have to do what makes me happy outside of enabling their happiness. And so, long live the poetry submissions, and one day (in a land far far away in another time and dimension), I will be published in (wait for it) my very own collection, a whole book all of me! Then volumes of books. A short story collection. A novel. Novels. Books. Ahhhhh! It will be beautiful! I’ll be a professor at a university, with a bookshelf full of my own books that I will give to students who visit me during office hours and they will rejoice in the hope that one day they too will be published in their own office giving out their own books to students who will aspire to be like them, and on and on in an everlasting path of writers!

So Merry friggin’ Christmas and Happy ‘nother New Year. Whoopdie-doo!

(Yea, I know those wishes are late and lack-luster. There’s always next year to be more sincere (and to visit Santa WAY earlier than two days before he flies all the way around the world to give out presents to all the good little boys and girls, preserving what little sanity remains of said children’s parent/parents).


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