Day (insert ridiculous guess here): Yea, I failed.

Friday Feb. 28

Okay, who can even count HOW many days behind I am now (because aren’t writers supposed to hate math, or is that just me?) in my 30 day challenge to submit my @#$%? I was going to extend my deadline ten extra days to be nice to myself, but then where did those ten days go (thanks a lot “math”, wink wink, hey you know you blame math for a lot of your woes too)? Now it’s been, like, forever. And still no submissions.

<insert pouty face, really really unattractive pouty face, here>

failure

Okay, that was just scary! Do I really look THAT bad when I’m depressed???

<insert slightly less visually-offensive pouty face here>

failure2

Better, right? Okay, so now what?

I won’t call it a TOTAL fail (see also: EPIC fail), since at least I was DOING something, but it’s still a big fat PARTIAL fail because I didn’t even come close to accomplishing my goal (submitting 10 poems to 10 contests and 2 short stories to 2 contest in 30 days nonetheless) and sort of just gave up. GASP! Yes, I know. It SEEMS like I gave up. <Sigh> What a depressing blog post!

With husband traveling and every (literally every) moment of my day filled with childcare duties and no breaks, I am lucky to be showered and looking half-decent as I pick up kids, drop off kids, cart kids to and fro, cook, bake, clean, wipe, and so the list goes on. And with hubby coming home this weekend, maybe just mayyyyybe I can sneak out to the office (aka Starbucks) to forget about the blog and the failure and just actually do what I need to do: read, revise and submit! Or hey, even just WRITING would be nice! You know, like I’m doing now, like I’m supposed to do EVERY DAY!

And so dear readers, don’t give up on me. Because what is worse than FAILING?

(say it with me class…)

NEVER TRYING!

That’s right, I read that somewhere. Which also proves that reading can give you superpowers. If you don’t see the connection, then you need to read more.

What’s next on the challenge list? Oh @#$%! You mean I have to do this AGAIN???

Yes! I have had so many ideas of what to do. The latest being waking up at 5 am every day to actually have the TIME to do all I need/want to do. But after experimenting with that (for one day) I decided I’m not quite ready to FAIL at that yet (and, to be fair, I still have a little one who actually does wake up THAT early and any time I’d wish to work solo would end up being mommy and baby time, which is great, but maybe not worth waking up super early to do since I can also have that time during more normal hours of the day).

So, what will it be? I’m torn between my guitar challenge and my art challenge. Both of which I’ve been REALLY wanting to do. Maybe I should ask myself which one I’m more realistically able to do? But honestly, anything right now seems like a stretch to find the time, BUT I will try. Even if it means <gulp> another FAILURE.

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Day 22: Failing doesn’t feel good.

Tuesday, Feb. 4

I can’t believe it’s already been 22 days! Talk about (write about) feeling like a total F-word. You know…FAILURE. <Slumping shoulders and making pathetic sad face>

I could really use a hug right now. And another cup of coffee. And more time than what my one year old daughter’s nap allows for me to work on my writing.

I have been working on my poetry revisions, but have totally lost sight of submissions, and it’s likely that deadlines have already passed, although surely new ones will appear so all hope is not lost. But my mojo is like, well, gone.

It started with trying to revise a couple funky poems, and I let that get to me, and even after deciding to avoid the drama of revising such poems, I’ve found it difficult to carry on and move ahead. And I don’t think that I tried to take on too much, I just think it was not the right time to take on so much. And funkiness is an ever-present thing that seems to hover around me like an aura, and so I will have to figure out ways to move forward even while suffering from the funks.

And cue the baby to wake up. Yep. That is how much “free” time I have. (Mental note: when I’m waist deep in baby fever, remember this moment. Yes, the moment when you just want to have a few minutes to yourself, to do something that matters to no one else but you, to do something you feel you were meant to do, if only you could focus and put in the hours. Remember this.)

babygirlwakesupOhhhh but she’s sooooo cute, right? (No, Aimee, stop. Don’t. Even. Think. About. It)

Day 18: Snails for inspiration (not for lunch).

Friday, Jan. 31

Okay, it’s been a whole week and I never even posted my entry from last Friday because I was in too much of a funk (update: I did FINALLY post the last entry). I’ve decided to just brush those poems aside for now because they were causing me to freeze up and not do anything, and I’d rather accomplish a smaller goal than nothing at all.

After dropping kids at school today, and coming home, I found a snail in my driveway. snailThis might not seem all that unusual, but it has hardly rained this season and now that we finally had some rain overnight, looks like this little guy (or gal) came out to play. And it reminded me of how important it is to keep writing. To keep working at it. That even snails get to where they need to go, just s-l-o-w-e-r. And that’s how I need to think of my writing. Maybe it won’t go as quickly as my counterparts who are able to dedicate their whole time and being and focus to writing (because basically, well, they have *NO kids!). But I will still get to where I want to be, just s-l-o-w-e-r, and so long as I stay dedicated. (A snail poem? Inspiration comes from everything around us!)snail 2

So, alas (I know, I know, stop using the word “alas”, it’s not olden times) here is my revised list of poems to submit:

1. The Weight of Books

2. Forgetting Rubidoux (I revised the title and I really like this one)

3. Becoming Furniture

4. How to Boil Water

5. Falling Off the Roof

6. A Thin Line

And short stories??? Well, let’s see if I can just get one submitted somewhere…<sigh> I am not a failure (my mantra today). I am not a failure. Slow and steady wins the race (damn these clichés are just ingrained into my brain!). Even snails get to where they are going…eventually. Dream big anyways. Right???

snail 3*Okay, okay, I’ll stop blaming the kids! I know, plenty of people have kids AND get their @#$% done.  But if you have kids, then you KNOW how hard it can be to balance, well, everything!

<And cue the kids to come running in asking for popcorn and movie time>

Good thing they’re cute (and I love them. A lot).

Day 11: The day progress came to a big fat halt.

Friday, Jan. 24clock

Is this really what it comes to? 7:59 pm and I’m finally snagging a few moments to myself on the good ol’ (new) Macbook Air (everyone deserves to have one of these beauties). Two out of three kids are asleep (as in the baby and the husband, hehe) but we have a couple extra ones staying over, so while I’m working I’m still on high alert for kid shenanigans!

But I must keep on keeping on. No matter how pathetic it feels sometimes to just NOT be able to fit it in. You know, ME time (the time I allow myself to ignore the dishes and laundry and family and just WRITE as if I were spinning around free, like Maria in the beginning of The Sound of Music, not the NEW one, but the old one, the REAL one). Since when did life get SO busy (asks the woman with three kids)?

I have so many ideas for projects but struggle to find time to even revise stuff that I’ve already written. It’s a good thing to just keep writing, but at some point you inevitably feel like there’s not enough time in your entire life to write all the things you can imagine writing (oh and don’t even get me started on how to revise it all!).

I’ve got to look at the next several poems on my list.

4. Feeding the Rapist

5. Bile

6. Doll Parts

I don’t know if I want to include these or even spend time working on these (right now). Sometimes you begin to feel insecure about these things. But maybe that’s part of the point, if they are uncomfortable poems then maybe that unsettling feeling is interesting. Part of my fear is that the titles might be off-putting for some. But then, I’m also comfortable with sticking with a title I like even if it may not be your taste.

So why make excuses? Maybe I’m just avoiding revising these uncomfortable poems because they, well, make ME uncomfortable!

And maybe I will revise the titles. Yea, looking at it, #4 is no bueno. Too much. Idk. I have to look at it longer. And you know how sometimes you look at an old poem and you’re just all like:

“Really? Was I serious here? This is not so good as I remembered it being at the time. Darnit.” (except that I usually curse strongly in my head, so “darnit” would be more like “!@#$ bleep %^&* bleepity bleep *(@$!-it!”)

And sometimes you just have to scrap it (the poem) and do a new something else (before you mangle it and cut out everything and it’s all dismembered and slashed and unrecognizable). You can’t even begin to fix a poem (sometimes) so you just leave it alone for an indefinite amount of time (weeks, months, years…like forever?). Poetry archives. Or your hard-drive. Thumb drive. Air drive thing whatever it’s really called (sorry husband, I will never attain your level of techiness regardless of how minor this issue might be). Back it up, is all I got to say.

<Thumbs up>

Cloud! There it is, you know…the “cloud” that you can save your stuff to. Right???

<Tries reading through poems to revise and make notes>

<Feels overwhelmed with crappy sentimentality of poems and other erroneous devices>

Blehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Tired. Will revise tomorrow. I seriously can’t go to those poems (what??? don’t look at me like that! I just can’t!). Which is why I try not to wait until the end of the day, when I’m weary and teary (okay I’m not crying (yet) but it rhymed, and I’m desperate, and so I just went with it). Sometimes you gotta keep going, but sometimes you need to know when to quit.

<Stares blankly at computer while fantasizing about perseverance>

Day 9: More Poetry Revisions!

Tuesday, Jan. 21 Wednesday, Jan. 22

While I should celebrate the small successes (like revising a poem!), I feel very very skeptical about my ability to complete my goals this month <wahhhhh!!!!> and I just don’t know if I can do it!sad girl

I feel like I need more time, and not just time as in more days, but more time as in hours in the days. And I just am not putting the time in each day that will allow me to stand a chance at this. But what do I do? I’m not giving up! Hey, I pulled off NaNoWriMo, I can submit a few lousy poems (or ten ah-mazing ones!) to a few measly (or ten awesome) writing contests. Right??? <holding breath, waiting for the nods and grumbles of encouragement from my readers>

So…one poem down, nine to go. And to be honest, my one poem still does not feel “done”. But to be fair, does any poem EVER feel “done”???

So, goals goals goals. If I don’t write them out, I just won’t know where to start (or continue). Next poems on the list to revise: “Becoming Furniture” and “Boiling Point”. These two are about as “done” as it gets, but I have submitted them both to a few contests about a year ago and after being rejected I decided to let them sit for a little bit and then revisit them for some fresh love.

So, maybe if I do these two oldies, they will be easy <fingers crossed> even if easy doesn’t necessarily mean they will be accepted. I think part of what I REALLY need to do more of is READING the friggin’ publications to know if I even fit in (mental note: must plan a 30 day challenge to READ lit mags). God, I hate thinking about that question: Do I fit in??? Spent too much of childhood worrying about that to STILL have to worry about that as an adult. Geesh. But alas (and I really have no good answer why I am abusing “alas” by using it way too much in my blog) I KNOW that it only makes sense to submit your work to publications who are thematically similar to your (MY) writing style. Maybe not thematically, but technically, aesthetically, topically, etc…

Anywho…

When it comes to the titles for both of these, I feel good. I like the titles. I feel like they are interesting and fit the poems. I really don’t know if there are any changes to be made to “Becoming Furniture”. I made minor revisions after receiving the rejection notices about it. And I think it’s “done”. For now.

As far as “Boiling Point” goes, I also really revised the heck out of that not too long ago, so I think the only changes I would be interested in making are minor. As part of a previous revision, I divided the poem into four parts, and labelled them with numbers 1-4. Now, I like the way it separates the poem all neat and tidy, however, the numbers have little to no significance other than acting as dividers.

Here’s my idea I’m working on for this poem. I would like to make each section mean something with its title, so I was considering using terms for the stages of boiling. Now, I found great terms for various stages of boiling when it comes to making tea, and those terms refer to various sea creature eyes. Cool, right?

Of course I’m right! <rolling eyes> However, this doesn’t really fit with the theme of my poem, and to use these terms would basically mean writing an entirely new and different poem. So, the only other terms I found were poaching, simmering, and boiling. But I have four parts! And…two of these terms are already in the body of the poem. So, what do I do? Scrap the notion of changing these subtitles?

Bah! I will not! So, I found the different temperatures at which these changes occur, and am considering using these. However, the execution of this is not working out as fantastic as I’d hoped. Give up? No! Still, no! I just have to do a little tweaking, and possibly consult with my poet friend who was so kind and generous as to help with my poetry revisions (she’s currently an MFA student at UNM, so I am ever gracious for her help especially knowing how little free time she has to do such poetry exchanges with me!).

Okay, three poems down, seven to go! Slow but steady…(ugh, so cliche, I know).

Okay, my neurosis won’t allow me to end the post with a cliche. So, I’m going to take that damn cliche and make it “fresh”! Instead of slow but steady, I will go with…

one day at a time

no!

slow goin’

no!

hey, at least I’m tryin’

no!

Hmmmm…

Making small progress in writing efforts is better than never trying at all sitting on my ass watching TV and not accomplishing a damn thing at all.

Okay, maybe a little sappy (began to read like a Chinese proverb or something), but that’s as good as it gets for now (work in progress), because I still have 7 more poems to revise, and 2 short stories. Boom! (Yea, I don’t know why the “boom”, I’m just trying to stay afloat at this point. And I’m out, before I continue on with more meaningless mindless banter that only I will find humorous.)

Adieu.

Day ?: Been too long! Procrastination (and Revision).

Saturday Sunday Jan. 19, 2014 (okay, okay, it’s Monday now, geesh! So I don’t always get around to posting the SAME day I start writing my post <blushing>)

Yikes! Has this whole week already slipped by??? Well, I got revision notes back from my poet friend on one of my newest poems I’ve been working on, and so now on to revising that one (and more!).

This, for me, is the stressful part. And maybe I’m procrastinating not only because it’s hard to find time to work on this, but because revising is harrrrddddd (said in a whiny, nasal teenage voice, because even though I’m NOT a teenager anymore <sigh> I can still whine like the best of ’em). Like, really, really hard (see?!? totes teenager vernacular!). (Okay, sorry for that last one, it was too far! You know, the “totes” part…)

You see (I SEE) the potential for these works, and you KNOW (I KNOW) there’s a way to SAY what you’re REALLY trying to say (or write, but you know what I mean!). But it’s all in the execution of it. Here are some things I look at when revising my poetry:

1) Title: Something catchy, unique, interesting. Something that draws the reader into the poem. Something that acts/functions as part of the poem. Does the title contribute to the meaning of the poem? Does the title merely repeat other information or imagery in the poem (if it does, then something’s got to go! Either the title or the repetitive information within the poem, depending on which is more fitting.)? Does the title read differently before reading the poem than after reading the poem/Does it adopt more meaning once the poem has been read?

2) Theme: Does the poem consistently represent the theme of the poem? Are there any words/language, images, or lines that feel out-of-place thematically? Is there a theme? Also may be referred to as the thread or narrative thread of the poem. Is this thread working? Is it continuous?

3) Summary: Too much narrative? Too much summary instead of showing not telling? (‘Cause you know…you’re supposed to (say it with me…) SHOW don’t TELL. Very good.)

4) Imagery: Are these images the best at representing the topic at hand? Do they feel appropriate for the theme/mood/language of the poem? Are they unique/fresh/interesting/relevant?

5) Go deeper: Are you (Am I???) just scratching the surface of a subject? Is there something more? Is there something I’m afraid of expressing too clearly? An exercise to test this is to write a history of the poem, where you just write a free-write on what the motive for writing the poem was, what you are trying to say in the poem, and any other details surrounding the poem. Then you can go back and highlight or circle anything that should go into the poem for clarity and detail. Often times you can find some real gems in these free writes that could make a huge impact on the poem you’re struggling with revising.

Okay, now back to ACTUALLY revising, rather than writing about how I NEED to revise!

Revision

* Okay, okay. If you’re interested I will share my revision notes for this current poem I’m working on: “Thrift Shopping at the Salvation Army” (even though the poem itself is not ready for your critical eyes just yet!).

So, overall, I have a back and forth narrative going on between two different, but related locations. First, there’s the thrift store, then there’s the convalescent home. My first problem occurs when I transition from the thrift store setting to the nursing home, it’s not clear what’s going on, so I need to find a way to transition (which I initially did with related imagery, but it still didn’t quite hit the mark in clarity that there are two distinct places here and they are related both in the timing of the narrative (also unclear until the end of the poem) and subject matter (my “thread”)).

So…transitions! But don’t lose imagery!

And title??? Too long? Does it add to poem? What does it say? My first title was simply “Rubidoux” but then I felt like it wasn’t adding enough to the poem itself, so I replaced it with the current working title “Thrift Shopping at the Salvation Army in Perris” because I felt like the specificity of the title was more interesting and relevant. But, does it relate enough to the sub-setting of the poem—the nursing home? I tried out a new title “Thrift Shopping at the Salvation Army in Perris after visiting Grandpa at the Rubidoux Convalescent Home” but boy was that a long-winded title, and therefore, I reverted back to my second working title, but realize I may need to revisit the title once (or twice) again.

And there are parts of the poem that I love and don’t want to change, the image of coat hangers scratching across the rack at the thrift shop. The people literally locked up in the nursing home. The number of lines in each stanza. The end that feels dissatisfying in some way because that’s the point of the poem—this dissatisfaction in visiting someone you love deeply who doesn’t always recognize you and yet still knows he’s been sent somewhere where he will die (Maybe this part needs to come out in the poem more! I thought it was underlying, but maybe it’s not as clear as I’d thought?).

Now for stanzas…what goes where? I initially used a back and forth strategy of stanza one in the thrift store, stanza two the nursing home, stanza three thrift store, four nursing home, and so on (well, there were 8 stanzas on the last revision). But now, I’m wondering if this disconnect in the poem needs to be resolved by focusing first on the thrift store, and then in later stanzas introduce the nursing home and the mood has already been set by the thrift store, and then return to the thrift store at the end by tying the two locations together by making it clear that the two events were subsequent, as in the speaker visited the thrift store immediately following visiting the grandpa in the nursing home.

As I revise, I now have 5 stanzas, but have eliminated line breaks as I work out some different details and images within the stanzas, and will revisit line breaks once I get some clearer images and concepts for each stanza.

Okay, revisiting the title again. I think “Thrift Shopping” is not necessary in title because it’s obvious in poem. So would that leave the title as “The Salvation Army in Perris”? Or just “The Salvation Army”? Does that really say what I want it to? Does it set up the poem effectively? I think (in this latest revision) that it’s clear in the first stanza that the speaker is thrift shopping, and I don’t think it’s AS important to know the exact store that the speaker is shopping at…so it makes me reconsider the whole title. Other themes in the poem are about truth, reality, dying, denial, entrapment, aging, forgetting…is there a title in there somewhere? What about “How to forget the truth”? Because here, the speaker is using thrift-shopping as a means of coping and dealing (or NOT dealing) with the fact that the Grandpa is dying and has a poor quality of life, much like some of the material items in the store. Or what about “What we do after visiting Grandpa” or “Shopping with Mom”? Or just “Shopping”? Or “Shopping For ?<something clever inserted here>?”?

Oohh, I got it…”Shopping Days”, like Visiting Days at the nursing home. Well, this is it until something better comes along or it grows on me…I don’t like it as much as the long title, but it may be a better fit.

Okay, so going forward, I’m feeling a bit good about the first two stanzas in my revision. And now I’m into the third stanza where there’s a bit of dialogue and it’s something I feel is important to the poem, but I don’t think it’s working the way I’d like it to. So I’m going to rewrite that section, then cut all the unnecessary jargon, check my images, and then work out some line breaks and see how that pans out. THere’s only one more stanza after this, so I will take that into consideration as well while I revise this stanza. It’s been rather uncomfortable and a bit discouraging and depressing revising this poem, but now when I re-read what I’m doing I’m starting to feel confident that all this work is definitely improving the poem, and I can’t give up (you know when you get that revision feeling of like “the poem wasn’t perfect before, but now it’s a real mess” like you’re going backwards in improvements but I’ve realized that much of revision is improvising and then filling in better details later. So, if I have an idea for an image I’d like to put in but I don’t quite know the exact image, it’s okay to use a placeholder/spot-filler/or dare I say…cliche?…just until the “right” image comes to you and then, ta-dah! It’s soooo much better!

Okay, got a decent revision done, okay I’m being modest, it was a kick-ass revision. But alas, it was only one poem. Still, don’t sell myself short. Woh, sorry, talking/typing to myself too much! A successful day of revision, celebrate the small victories, and do it again and again and again! More victories, more celebration. All in all, a good plan.

Day 3: Reading periods, submission fees, and guidelines…oh my!

Wednesday Jan. 15, 2014classifieds

Okay, yesterday was a fail. As in, I was still too dizzied by ALL the potential contests and deadlines and themes that I felt a little bit of sensory-overload. And this month’s challenge has already gotten off to a rocky delayed start. But alas, there is only so much this mama can do and so here we are at Day 3, and here is my tentative list of writing contests to enter…

1) Main Street Rag Publishing Company

Reading period Jan 1-Feb 28, no reading fee, submit by email only. Themes: cars, crossing lines, homes & houses Accepting poetry, short fiction and nonfiction

2) San Pedro River Review

Reading period March 15-May 15, Chapbook contest, details on website.

3) Arroyo Literary Review

Seeking poetry, short and long fiction, creative non-fiction, and translation, reading period Dec 1, 2013-May 31, 2014, email submissions.

4) Kansas City Voices

Payment offered, submissions close March 15, submit via Submittables link on Whispering Prairie Press website.

5) Dash

Published by CSU Fullerton, seeking poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction. Poems 33 lines max, prose 2,000 words max. Deadline March 1. Submit to email.

6) Earth’s Daughters

Your interpretation of “small things”. Up to 3 poems, or prose 500 words or less. Accepting Feb 1-March 31.

7) Ekphrasis

Poems based on a single work of art. No simultaneous submissions. 3-5 poems. Submit via old-fashioned mail with SASE.

8) The Evening Street Review

Poetry/prose submissions year-round. 3 month or less turnaround for reply. 4-6 poems, 1-2 prose. Email or regular mail submissions.

9) Rhino

Accepts poetry, flash fiction 750 words max. Regular submissions April 1-August 31. Founders’ Prize submissions Sept. 1-Oct 31.

10) WomenArts

Essays, fiction, poetry, visual art, reviews, and interviews by women. Submission guidelines on website.

11) Santa Monica Review

Fiction and non-fiction only. No email submissions. SASE. Focus on So Cal and Pac Rim writers.

***Published work from Amy Gerstler AND Aimee Bender, two of my favorite fellow writer Amy/Aimee’s***

12) New Millennium Writings

Deadline Jan. 31. Fiction, non-fiction, poetry. No more than 6,000 words for fiction, short fiction is no more than 1,000 words. Poetry, 3 poems, no more than 5 pages. $20 per submission.

13) Zyzzyva

Fiction, poetry, essays, artwork. No online submissions. Only one story or non-fiction piece at a time. No max page count.

14) Roar

$4 reading fee. Poems- up to 5 poems, no more than 10 pages total. Fiction-one piece at a time, not more than 10,000 words.  Accepts non-fiction and visual art as well.

And just for the bleep of it: a list of ALL the literary magazines.

So, there it is…14 contests that I can submit work to, which gives me a little wiggle room in case, upon more research, I find one or more to not be quite a good fit (or I miss a deadline!). I may even add more to the list as I go through and revise and consult with my poet friends who may have better insight into other good contests that they’ve submitted to.

Now…onto revising! My next goal will be to tackle revisions on three poems tomorrow, and decide where I might want to send those to.

And, should I consider sending any of my art out too??? Since many of these accept art submissions…Hm, I will let that idea ruminate. Because, you know, not like I have anything else to do.

Day One: Looking for writing contests.

Monday Jan. 13, 2014

Got some music playing (Band of Skulls, “Sweet Sour”), baby napping, maybe 30 seconds of “me” time, because you know, once you notice how nice and quiet it is, you’ve jinxed it.

So now to work. I need to find some writing contests. I set my goal at 10 poetry contests and 2 short story contests. Was that too ambitious?

Got my Poets & Writers Mag next to me (I know, I know, there’s the website too, but I’m more of a “book” person than a “kindle” person, if you know what I mean, not that I’m opposed to it, I’ll probably do both. Tangent over.).classfieds

So what do I look for when searching for contests? Here are my thoughts…

1) Submission type (kind of obvious, but still, you must initially rule out if you (ME) have the genre they are looking for). If yes, proceed to step 2.

2) Deadline! Can I make it??? If yes, continue…(if no, then make a big fat (oops, maybe “fat” is not PC, so let’s make that a “large”) X over it so you don’t get tempted to read it again and then realize AGAIN that you won’t make the deadline).

3) Entry fee? Set a budget, and stick to it. I prefer the free contests, but am not opposed to paying a small reading fee for a contest that may be a good fit. And some contests will automatically subscribe you to their magazine/journal if you pay the entry fee. Also, contests with reading fees often offer cash prizes for winners, so you have to conssder if thats appealing enough? Reading fees range anywhere from $5, $10, $15…I usually set aside a budget of $50 for writing contests, so that I don’t have to rule out any contest because of fees, but it doesn’t turn into a huge financial commitment with no guaranteed return. FYI-This is also my typical gambling budget if I go to Vegas (because with three kids,  you totally know how much THAT happens! And how, if and when I DO go, it’s all about the penny slots.). Now that you have your budget, whether $0 or $50 or beyond, continue to step 4.

4) Does the submission get published online or in print? Does this matter to you? If it does, then avoid the online-only publications. If it doesn’t, then send away to any and all that you think may be a good fit.  Then go to step 5.

5) Do they accept submissions  online or via snail mail? SASE is slowly getting phased out, but you should know about it, and buy a small book of stamps (if you even know what those are) and send some work out the old fashioned way, because, why not? (Or by the new definition/usage of the word “because” I could say something like “because obvious.” I don’t know, that didn’t work out so great on screen as it was in my head. And I don’t know if I agree with its new usage anyways.) Move on to step 6.

6) Simultaneous submissions? Can you send the same work out to other contests too? Or do you have to wait to hear back before sending out elsewhere? Depending on how much “finished” work you (ME) have to send out, this may or may not matter to you. Since I’m planning to send out 10 poems, I can choose to set aside a few poems for a contest that does not allow simultaneous submissions, however if you (ME) decides to send out the same set of poems to many different contests, make sure they state that they allow simultaneous submissions, and…should your work be accepted elsewhere, make sure you contact all other editors to inform them of that. You want to be able to submit other work to them at some point, so it’s best to follow good writers’ etiquette.

Oh my gawsh, I am dizzy from reading all those classifieds! Break time. Mommy time out. Just five minutes.

Okay, took a break. And never got back to writing until now. But am feeling so overwhelmed by contests. I guess maybe I will stretch out this task for two days, not just one. But, I have begun the process, and tomorrow will narrow down the list to the top ten plus two (ten poetry contests, two short story contests).

Wish me luck (because this mom is tired and ready for bed and it’s only 5:13 pm, sigh).

Prequel: Part Tres

Okay, okay, okay. I know what you’re thinking. How many “Prequels” can there be??? Well, as much as I was hoping to get a jump on my blogging and my challenges last week (gulp, yes it’s been a week already!), life just swept me away and so last week’s “Day One” post sat unfinished in my shiny little MacBook until I’ve revived it today. Hence the title change to “Part Tres” in lieu of “Day One”.MacBook Air

And so, lo and behold, my outdated post! That will serve as my last and final procrastination tool until I begin this current challenge…

Monday Jan. 6, 2014

I will begin this month’s challenge by foraging through the masses of unfinished poems (and short stories, though less so of them) and making a list of the ten poems I would like to submit (after giving them some new affection (even if that means cutting out their hearts and sewing them back on as eyes…woh…sorry, that got kind of dark!)).

And so, while my poems are not yet ready to meet the eyes of readers, I will bravely give you my list of their titles (though they may change in the process too!).

Poems to revise and submit (and I do reserve the right to change this as need be! Why am I shouting!?! I don’t know! Maybe I shout when I’m nervous?!?):

1. Thrift Shopping at the Salvation Army in Perris

2. Becoming Furniture

3. Boiling Point

4. Feeding the Rapist

5. Bile

6. Doll Parts

7. Amputation

8. The Weight of Books

9. Life’s Plan

10. Shudder

And the short list of short stories is as follows:

1. Wishes in a Paint Can

2. Period Girl

 So…just to be clear, TOMORROW is DAY ONE. No take-backs. No fingers crossed behind my back. No “Prequel: Part Quatro”, after all, I can’t count much higher in spanish (lies, lies, lies, okay, I CAN count higher, but I thought that was funny. Because, well, I’m corny (and stupid)). 

On DAY ONE I will research and find some upcoming contests that I can submit to while I revise, revise, revise (and cry, cry, cry that everything I’ve written is worthless and dull and bleh) until I can feel whatever minuscule amount of confidence and pride in my writing so that I can hold onto a smidgen of hope that one of my little darlings has found a home!

Submissions Challenge: Prequel Part Dos

Jan. 5, 2014

Well, I still have not done much of anything for my blog (except revise and post my entry from 3 weeks ago (hehe, blushing face)), but now that Christmas and New Year’s are behind us, I feel like there are no more excuses to put this off! Sure, my baby girl is turning ONE this week, and so I’m staying up late cutting out pennant banners from shabby chic scrapbook paper, and making tutus and hair bows and other crafty fun stuff like that.tutu cute

AND I did write a poem last week, so there was that! Not completely unproductive (cheesy smile). But still, there’s the blog. I mean, Yay! The blog!

And as much as I want to and have planned on learning that darn Mazzy Star song on guitar, my hands are just in bad shape with eczema, due to ???? God, don’t people WISH they knew what the bleep caused their itchies to itch so bad?!? (And yes, yes they do, according to kajillions of blogs and forums out there with people suffering from similar unexplained cases of eczema(how DO you say eczema?)/atopic dermatitis/dishydrosis.)

My personal theory is that my skin was worn down by overuse of antibacterial hand sanitizer when I went through my germaphobe phases from the first two kids, and definitely have noticed that baby wipes infuriate my hands (any and all brands it seems, no matter how “natural” or “hypo-allergenic” or “sensitive” they claim to be), and so I’ve finally quit the baby wipes and opted to use a squirt bottle of water and some good old paper towels in lieu of the more convenient pre-packaged baby wipes. And so, while completely off topic, that is how I’m trying to heal my hands and also spend less money and be more natural in this 3rd time baby adventure!

So, back to writing…

My goal (as unexciting for you as I imagine it to be) is to revise AND submit 10 poems and 2 short stories…and maybe I’m crazy, but I want to send them out to 10 poetry contests and 2 short story contests. THAT is my goal for the next 30 days. If this adventure (if you can call it that, I mean, I certainly do, but that’s me) doesn’t entice you to read and follow along, rest assured that I WILL play that damn guitar and I WILL make that mixed media masterpiece (or hodge podge, wink wink) down the road.

So…now to rummage through the messes and find 10 poems worthy of revision and submission, and 2 short stories I can bring to greater life with the power of (ugh) revision! I mean, Yay! Revision!

Tomorrow is DAY ONE…today is just Sunday.