Notes From My Writing Experience. Post #2

Notes From My Writing Experience. Post #2

I Also Use Submittable

Attached to this post is a picture of my Submittable Account. The pic displays my active submissions. Active submissions are those that are submitted and have not been accepted or rejected yet. Of course this is my own definition. A more high fa-lu-ten definition may state: Active submissions are submissions that are under consideration. (I used my proper English voice when I said that)

Using my street voice, half of these ain’t being considered at all right now —especially during a pandemic. All the publishers are short staffed. Also, due to the pandemic, I am sure that submission totals have skyrocketed.

Therefore, try to be patient. I have edited for small presses before. I have great appreciation for their work and their challenges. As matter of fact, I think every writer should do a round of editing for a small or large press at least once in their lifetime. Writers attitude towards publishers may change quite a bit after that experience. More importantly, their writing and their writing approach may change. I know mine did.

Oops, I digressed a little —Back to using Submittable.

How does Submittable benefit me?
1. Electronic submissions – no stamps, no envelopes, No SASE – that’s self-addressed stamped envelope for the computer age crowd.
2. Tracking of your submissions – automatic. You don’t have to track your own, Submittable does it for you. I use Submittable for tracking and I use my own spreadsheet in conjunction with Submittable.
3. It is easy to withdraw a poem that was simultaneously submitted and accepted by another publisher (imagine writing withdrawal notes by hand to 29 publishers)
4. Oh, by the way, if you did submit a poem to 30 publishers and one publisher accepted your poem, you should immediately notify the other 29 publishers that the poem was accepted by another and is no longer available. Don’t be a jerk, It is the right thing to do.
5. I use Submittable to track —when was the last time — I submitted to a publisher. (Some publishers only allow 1 submission a year)

I will stop here. There are many other benefits for using Submittable. It has many benefits for the writer and the publisher.

Stay tuned for my next post: Resources

Notes From My Writing Experience

Notes From My Writing Experience

I track what I submit in a spreadsheet whose design I borrowed from an old edition of Writers Market. Over time I tweaked the format, customizing it to my specific needs.

The picture you see is an example of how I track my submissions. I usually estimate that most publishers will respond favorably to my submissions within 60 days after submission deadline. If I receive no response within 80 days, I consider it “rejected”. Why? I have never received an acceptance for any submission that has aged past 62 days.
I mark these aged submissions as “no response” and I filter them out of my list.

I am not a writing expert. There are 11,001 writers who qualified to be listed in P&W. Out of that list I am ranked #11,001. There are, probably, another 10,000 well known writers who are not in that directory. That makes my ranking about #20,001. Nonetheless, I have experience on being published and I want to share my tools and my experience with you.

Look for more posts about what I have experience as a writer in the near future.

Literary Plans

My Next Literary Tasks

Since I’m away from my house and due to a serious looking storm approaching, I’m stuck at a safe place that practices social distancing very, very well — therefore, I may as well share my next literary plans with my friends:

Post Video Compilation of yesterday’s Poets, Writers & Storytellers of Norwalk Art Festival

  • tomorrow morning

Finish my epic poem (9 pages long) – title: My First Day Flying” submit it to Rattle’s annual contest- you never know

– by July 15th

I’ve decided on my next book. After polling my friends for feedback – Thanks for the Yeas and Nays. Based upon the feedback, the title:
“Poets Should Not Write About Politics”
Yes. I’m going there.

– by July 31st

That’s enough for right now!

My Next Chapbook

My Next Poetry Chapbook

I just finished 3 new poems:

A Song of Remembrance for Mama

My Last Smoke

Red Versus Seadog

all 3 are some of the longest pieces I’ve ever written. Too long to read at most Open Mics (A Song of Remembrance…clocks in at 4 minutes and 25 seconds).

I’m sending all 3 to a poetry contest held by Phoebe, Journal of Literature and Arts.

The entry fee is $5 and the deadline is tonight 11:59pm Eastern.

Now my chapbook plan is as follows: if Phoebe accepts 1 of the pieces, rights return to me immediately after publication and that 1 poem as well as the other 2 will go in my chapbook, now slated for release later this year! We will see.

Home

Word Flab

Word Flab

I sent a poem to an editor once at 7am before leaving the house for my 7:52am train.

As I boarded the train, my smartphone dinged, it was the editor. He accepted my poem for publication. He loved the piece and he said something to me that I will always remember:

“It’s a good piece, it needs some editing, just a sprinkle of punctuation and cut out some of the word flab and it will be good to go” he said.

I have been cutting word flab out of my poetry ever since.

In a earlier post, I talked about how I write poetry and then I place the work on the shelf for weeks at a time. Well, the first thing I do when I pull my work off the shelf is cut out the word flab.

After weeks of letting the work sit, I spot that word flab right away. It stands out like a wart in a verse, an abnormal growth

in a stanza. So I cut, cut, cut and after I’m done cutting I put it back on the shelf for weeks again.

One published piece of mine went back and forth to the shelf for an entire year. It

went from 3 pages to one page —approximately 34 lines. The word flab was nearly gone. The editors of anthology asked me to cut just 2 more words. I did so —gladly! Out with the

word flab, out with the word flab!

Day #42

Day #42

On January 7th, I decided to spend 50 days working on my next chapbook. Today is day #42. I have written 5 new poems since I started this journey.

I pause to remember when I picked up the pen. It was the summer of 1992 when I decided to write for public consumption. I’d always written for myself but after a few writing classes I started looking towards submitting my work. My first poem was published in the fall of 1992. Shortly afterwards, I stopped writing. I was promoted at my day job and took on a 100% travel assignment. I lived on the road, traveling from city to city, sleeping in hotel after hotel all across the USA.

It wasn’t long after that when I found myself living and traveling overseas for nearly 6 years. I came back to the USA, focused on family, raising 2 wonderful little girls and concentrating on my day job career.

In the Spring of 2013, I was home alone. My wife was traveling, the children grown and gone. I was watching a television show, “Elementary”, and the subject matter of that night’s episode’s caught my attention, my thoughts churned, I looked at the junk mail envelopes laying on the floor. ( I normally go through junk mail while watching TV)

I found a pen, picked up the junk mail envelopes and started writing on them. I wrote for 2 hours that night and that is when it all started again. I’ve been writing ever since.

Day #47

Day #47

On January 7th, I decided to spend 50 days working on my next chapbook. Today is day #47. I have been working diligently on a new piece titled “Pillars Salt, Pillars Stone”. I’m submitting it to Rattle Respond tonight. If accepted, rights will return to me just in time for my book release.

I love this piece and I do believe that it represents some of my best work. I did a lot with punctuation in this piece. I normally don’t use punctuation but lately I have been thinking about using it a lot. What really helped me decide was my taking a look at several poems in said magazine and noticed punctuation in a lot of the poems that the magazine contained. I thought to myself, hmmm, perhaps for this journal and others, my lack of punctuation is holding me back.

I tried adding punctuation to “Pillars Salt, Pillars Stone” and I liked how the poem flowed. It looked good. I felt like I was letting the reader know when to slow down, when to pause, when to stop and when to start up again.

I feel like I will be using more punctuation for certain works in the future. We’ll see. I’m done with “Pillars Salt, Pillars Stone” for now. Time to rest. I will rest for a day or two, read someone else’s work while I’m resting, watch one of my favorite television shows, etc. After rest, I will pick up the proverbial pen again. See you at my next post.

My Journey as a Poet



The Beginning of My Journey as a Poet – part 1

I took writing poetry seriously in the summer of 1992 and by early fall one of my poems, “I Be a Bad Dude” was published by Catalyst Literary magazine.

The writing and the preparation prior to receiving the acceptance letter marked the beginning of my journey as a poet. 

During that summer of ’92, I wrote and wrote and wrote poetry.  One of those summer nights I walked into my little apartment in the throes of rage.  I’d just finished confronting a young man who was disrespecting his parents by cussing in their presence and threatening violence towards them.  I intervened and we went to blows.  No one lost.  No one won but after we both rose up from the floor, he walked away just like a bully does when confronted.  

(to be continued next post..,)

“My Journey as a Poet” is the series I plan to blog about during this Summer’s posting season,