It’s summer and toodling through various writing sites this week, I remembered that August kicks off “Submission Season,” the time when college literary types head back to school and brace for the mudslide of submissions coming their way. This might be a literal description at the University of Iowa after the flooding this past year, but hopefully the Hawkeyes will return to freshly scrubbed floors, gleaming walls, and no dead fish hiding in the school server.
August means it’s time for writers to polish their pieces one more time, buy 9X12 envelopes, and a slew of postage. I’m ready, but scared. I’ve got a lot to do, but I absolutely must send out. It’s the only way to get oneself read. So I too must brace myself.
A writer friend reminded me last week that for her, July is the beginning of a new writing season. July because for Sharon and me, as well as Jim, Ellen, and the rest of my old Iowa Summer Writing Festival buds that’s the month we used to meet in Iowa City to attend workshops, drink Blue Moon, and work up a sweat (literally) at keyboards only to have our butts frozen off at the EPB.
I hope it happened this year. I hope they all went. I did not. Haven’t for the last two years and have to admit this year, I really missed it. Maybe it was the pictures of the campus underwater my sister sent me triggering my angst. Or maybe it was just realizing that I’m so out of touch now, me in California and my “Iowa” friends scattered over the country: Sharon in Galesburg, Jim in Chicago, Ellen in St. Louis. I also miss Elizabeth, Lisa, and Enza. We had good times. But that was then and this is now. And now means getting writing, get submitting!
This DRIVE to SUBMIT has paid off. I started two years ago with the goal of 100 rejections. Yes. I know. That’s weird. But for me if my goal is called a DRIVE to PUBLISH, it’s too easy to get disheartened, so I changed the language. What that did for me was gave me something I had power over. No one can stop me from writing something, sticking it in an envelope, and sending it out. That’s in my power. Also in my power is the make that submission the best piece I can.
With those goals, I’ve had actual PUBLISHING success. Not big success. The editors from Tin House and McSweeneys (actually McSweeney’s owes me a rejection, but since I can barely navigate their site, it’s okay) are not pounding down my door yet, YET, but enough success to keep me striving and if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s the necessity for persistence. Persistence has over the last two years gotten me three pieces in print, three publications on line with two other pieces accepted, one coming out in August at Women’s Quality Fiction and another in the fall at EDF. So now I’m into my third submission season and I’ve got to make the best of it. (Yes, Jane, I hear you. The novel. THE NOVEL!)