I do sometimes find it tricky to strike the balance between writing and the somewhat less artful art of submitting. I can get tied up too much in submitting to journals and anthologies, writing the cover letters, doing the endless copying and pasting of poems into a single word document (for some reason this is the part I hate the most and have proved myself to be spectacularly terrible at), checking Submittable for any movement… If I’ve only got a few submissions floating out there I find it hard to forget about them, and the easiest way for me to try and forget and move on is to submit LOTS of proposals, and therefore confusing myself into a state of ‘doing’, rather than ‘thinking’. I do keep a massive spreadsheet of what I send (thank the gods), otherwise I’d probably give myself a nervous breakdown.
Still. It’s difficult to forget about proposals that are in the hands of publishers, particularly if they’re rather exciting ones. As well as a few poems on the desks of literary journals here and there, I’m waiting to hear from two publishers about two chapbook proposals. The chances of acceptances in these situations is incredibly slim as it is, and my nervousness increases as I find out I’m so so near to the finish line, and have got so far through the judging process. It’s promising to get so far, and you have to sometimes accept that that is sonetimes the greatest compliment in itself. Often, the longer it takes to hear back from a publisher the better (unless it’s nearer to a year’s wait, in which case what might have happened is a missing submission or they’re just a little discourteous and haven’t told you that they’ve passed you over). I know how many submissions these journals can receive, and it can be so stressful to wade through them with respect. It can be an overwhelming trial – and that’s why submission windows are more often than not replacing open submissions policies. But still – I think everyone deserves closure, particularly if the journal doesn’t accept simultaneous submissions.
Anyhoo – I’m still hopeful about my two pamphlets, but I’m also stoic in the face of defeat, when I have to be. Even if neither are accepted, I know how far they got – and that itself does credit to the work. Perhaps next time I’ll get lucky. Or then again – maybe not! Hopefully I’ll be put out of my misery soon-ish.