My First Day of Sending - 1.7.07
It's a humbling process, but also a curiously encouraging one. I came into this mess with five Excel sheets of journals that I'd labeled (in my
brain) "easy" to get accepted into. Today I finally went to all of their websites and... boy howdy. Let's just say that my Excel spreadsheet lost half of its members. As amusing as it sounds, later on, when I actually have a career, I don't think I'd want my name associated with The Blackwidow's Web of Poetry or Whispers of Poetry or the one where you have to pay five dollars and they'll publish it guaranteed. I'm not ravenous enough to be published that I will tolerate my poetry sitting next to Jesus-freak poems and long, rambling tirades about how the fog is coming over the mountains and there are "willowy tendrils" of it.
I sent out some poems that I have a soft spot for, but wouldn't send out to other places. Hopefully some of my soft spot poems do get published... because the teenager in me who spent angsty hours writing them deserves a break. She worked hard.
So... yeah. Now I have to wait like months and months, but in the meantime I have other stuff to do. Now that I've gotten my so-so poems out of the way I can start editing and typing up my more promising poems and maybe sending them to a few of my "medium" rated journals. There are a lot of those. Then, when I'm dry of poetry for the moment I'll work on fiction. Then, when the fiction is all sent out and done I'll start querying for literary agents to sell my novels to, and, of course, I'll edit the novels. So... literary train keeps on rolling!
New Work Underway in Poetry and Fiction - 1.6.07
The other day I went to the Office Depot to finally furnish myself with a home office. This accomplished two things: 1) motivation, because now that I've invested money, I am much less likely to call it quits, 2) frustration with HP because of their shaky printer/Mac interface.
So, I have stamps, I have envelopes, I have a box of paper and I have a laser printer. Now all I need is some literature to use it on, and I'm on my way. In a frenzied expedition late into the night I printed out everything I'd ever written, including both of my fledgling novels. It filled the bedroom with fumes and we had to sleep with the sliding door open. In January.
Now I am combing through my companions, The Poetry Writer's Market and The Novel and Short Story Writer's Market to see who I can bother with all of my wonderful brain-children. So far, I've isolated maybe ten poetry magazines to give it a timid go with, they seem like very accepting people.
This will involve reading that foot-tall pile of papers, and that is the part I'm dreading. I've already trashed about a third of all my poetry (we're talking late 90's poetry) and now I'm gleaning ideas from the rest of it, seeing if something has an interesting line, if the poem as a whole is promising or if I have just a word or two I want to use.
My goal is to work all of Sunday on it, that means all day tomorrow, and have five packages, ten if I'm really awesome, ready to go in Monday's mail. I think I will also swing by the UPS store, buy a postal scale and some more stamps and then beg my mother for more money. Sample copies of all the places I'm submitting to and stamps, especially stamps, don't come cheap! Her new (reasonable, as ever) goal is for me to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, so she'll have to make a cash donation to the cause, I'm afraid.
I'm nervous. Nervous but galvanized and ready. We'll see what happens in the next few weeks. We'll see what comments, if any, I get, and where the work will proceed to from here.
Fun Fact - 1.13.07
I learned here that there is such a thing as the Society for Creative Anachronism, fully justifying people going to renaissance fairs and reenacting the Civil War. Man, maybe my old Titanic fantasies have a new home. Oh well. No news, other than I get to participate in an acting workshop at Santa Clara. That's exciting. I definitely want to see all of those people and just do some monologues.
Maren Lovgren, the most amazing woman in the world wants to start getting together to write. Mostly plays. Mostly funny. I could not be happier.
My First Rejection! - 1.9.07
Here it is! My first rejection! From an online journal called "remark," to which I sent perhaps three of my most lack-luster poems, which wasn't very respectful to the journal. I'm glad for the quick response, and now I'm a little unsure. Should I keep sending out lackluster poems just to see them in print? I feel like I have great, medium and lackluster poems, and so I'm starting out with sending out lackluster. That's a bad thing to admit. Like "I'm doing bad work and I know it." Well, it's all bad work that I've done over the space of about 8 years. Should I give up on it and start anew or should I keep sending that work out? When more verdicts come back, then I'll know my next course of action. I'm planning another slew of submissions for the end of this week, so we'll see what I send out. I don't know what to do with the three poems I sent in to "remark," called: "Calluses," (which I spelled WRONG! HA!), "For my mother," (HA!!!) and "Walking," which is the most emo out of them. Maybe Black Book Press, with the MySpace page will appreciate that one. I will probably retire the other two. Okay ideas but the execution, oh my god. Barf.
I find myself writing that a lot when I'm editing my work. Barf. Baaaaaarf. One poem yesterday even got the elusive Byarf on it. Nice. Hearing back is very exciting. I think I'll definitely submit to "remark" again.
Acceptances and Other News - 1.21.07
I've finally written enough here so that I can add some stuff to my archived blog page. Man. I am the internet goddess. So. On the 16th I got my first acceptance letter from Nomad's Choir, which was sweet. It happened right before Week 12 ended in The Artist's Way, which was really personally significant for me. This week I already sent my submissions, and it's actually gotten easier. I am sending to a lot of magazines right now that don't accept simultaneous submissions, so that's kind of a bummer. I really want to send out more, but now I have to wait to hear back. I should also enter some contests, I think.
Today I met up with Katie, Maren, Chad and Christie and it was fabulous. It was so nice to talk to other writers and artists and to hear some of my play about Wichita Falls, Texas, read out loud. I will finish the play this year. It is my favorite piece and there is a lot of life in it that I need to go chase.
My personal writer goals for the next few months: experimentation, experimentation, experimentation. Plus, I want to get out of the 'I' and into some new points of view. Also, no "night" poems, no more cigarettes for anybody in my brain. From the way I write about it, everyone in my head already has lung cancer. Because night and cigarettes are very outwardly deep, but now I need to reach even deeper than outwardly deep. Plus, more humor.
And, I will push forth with my quarterlife crisis guide. I need to write that thing, and pronto. I have maybe one or two chapters, but those are the ones that will actually take sociological research, so that's lame. I need some raw material next.
Pretty much done editing poetry, gonna move on to fiction after another round of poetry submissions, methinks. Then... editing the novels. I could really make Fugue into something tremendous, but first I'm going to mess around with Addie and Eloise. I am saving Fugue for last.
Getting Articles Published - 2.10.07
I wish that heading actually meant that I was getting articles published, but right now I have been a little slow on the uptake. I will not query an agent until I have those articles published, at least two or three, and that is what is slowing me down. This week is all about getting articles out there and all about doing agent research. After that, I will craft my proposal and wait for all those agents to come knocking down my door. Right, folks? Yeah, because we all know that's what happens when you've only been trying to get published since January. But, here's to hoping! I've gotten a good response from my creative publishing attempts. I'm pretty much 50-50 in terms of acceptances and rejections. That's pretty great. If only more newspapers were interested in just taking an article off the e-mail street and throwing it into their mix. Adopt my cute, furry articles please! They're housebroken!
Hmmmm - 2.07.07
I'm having a hard time with my time management. That's usually something I never say, or admit, but today I feel it. Tomorrow I am spending basically all day auditioning for an educational theatre, so I won't get to write a lot. Tonight, I can get maybe two hours in, which will be nice. Then I don't get to work until Friday. I am pretty bummed about it.
I am sending out to newspapers right now. I have not gotten accepted for newspaper publication anywhere so far, but I got some interest from the Palo Alto Daily News and the Chronicle Magazine. So, I'm branching out and sending to more and more college papers. Someone has to bite, and if not, there are always more colleges and more and more newspapers. But, I really should be working on my proposal. I can't query anybody until I get some publishing credits, but I should also prepare for my query efforts by typing out my chapters so that I can get a nice outline going.
What's a girl to do? (Other than go to P'izza Chicago and then the Yogurt Stop, hehe.)
This Stuff Is Hard - 2.01.07
This week I have met with past teachers of mine and other fabulous people, like Jenn BeVard. Mostly I have been giving my play out to get some reactions to it. Now that it is out of my hands for at least a week to a month, I have dug into something else entirely. This is the only project I have that has real urgency to it, because it applies in the here and now and I am just waiting for other people to catch on to this market and this phenom.
I have been working pretty much full-steam on my quarterlife crisis book, and my work has been fiercely motivated by reading other books on the market. Which are all crap. Seriously. Pasting together hundreds of other people's experiences isn't a book. It isn't even work. I am writing a humorous, no-nonsense take on it, along the lines of America The Book meets The Bad Girl's Guide.
Now, to publish a nonfiction book, you have to make yourself out to be quite an expert in the field. I do not think that being 22 is enough expertise for editors and literary agents. So, I have several options, and that is what today is about. In the consumer magazine market there are precious few outlets for the post-college, pre-house-and-babies demographic. I have found several publications that I can try, but I am not holding out hope. Instead, I have two people that I am mostly interested in to publish some articles for me:
- College newspapers. First I am hitting local ones who know what Santa Clara University is. For a start. They usually run either daily or weekly, which means they need material and they have a captive audience that could very much benefit from my work.
- Local papers of any ilk. Here I hope to use my local-ness... locality if you will, to grab the attention of a few papers like the Mountain View Voice, about what I am doing, and maybe with some excerpts of my wisdom. They like local artist stories, something to soothe the .com-ers into staying in their desk jobs, and print newspapers have a notoriously low readership in my target demographic.
I have other plans for what will happen when my book is on the fast track to publication, like a college tour, but for right now I'm working on generating buzz in the smallest possible outlets. If I can boast three or four publishing credits in a query letter to an agent or editor, that significantly ups my chances of getting interest in the project. Look at me, I sound like a freakin' marketing major.
Work, Work, Workity Work - 1.28.07
I spent all day working on my play, Uncommon Skies, and it was awesome. Maren and Katie helped me out a lot and I am very grateful. Tomorrow I'm going to meet with Barb for lunch, and drop off my script for Brian Thorstenson. Having the reading in the middle of April will give me plenty of time to work on it.
Not many submissions out today, though, which is sad. But I am finally moving on to my medium 'rated' journals, which will be very exciting next week when I start sending out. I'm still editing fiction and it's killing me. It's taking so long.
What a Trip! - 1.24.07
Okay, gang. It doesn't get any more devout than I am with my Macbook. But my website is a Homestead website, so to work on it I have to use a PC. What you are reading now was typed on my Mac. How? Magic! Actually. I bought Parallels Desktop for Mac and a version of Windows XP, and here I am! Parallels Desktop is a software that lets me run Windows on my computer, and toggle between the two with a keystroke. How.... just.... messed up is that? But... I got it work and it is awesome and I am just so giddy because technology, so far, has bowed down to do my bidding. That is awesome!
I Am The Shit - 1.22.07
Sorry to be so blunt, but it is true. Today I set up arrangements to get my play read at SCU in the spring (after I've finished it, I hope) and I also got a pretty glowing acceptance from Children, Churches and Daddies, only one week after they rejected everything I sent in.
It reads: "Mary, Mary, Mary, I get really freaked out when we like the writing (for the first sub, no less) from someone that.. Well, I can't say that I remember accepting *every* piece from someone. Wow. Um, I say it really poorly, but that's a really cool thing for a writer. We're accepting every one of your pieces, in 4 different future issues of cc&d."
So... you know. I'm geeked. But our oven still doesn't work and my feet still smell and someone sold me a bum copy of Windows XP and there is still a lot of work left to do. I just am pretty pleased with myself at the moment, though. Plus, I pretty much figured where I want to go with Wichita Falls. Now if only someone would give me their barcode so I can get onto LexisNexis...