The Numbers

I’ve seen several poets the last couple of days play the numbers game. Here’s mine:

33 “complete” poems (as in, have already been revised multiple times) and probably about 5 drafts that haven’t seen a revision yet ~ This is a pretty astounding number for me, especially since I wrote 17 alone between September and December. My writing ritual has paid off, and while not every poem is a masterpiece, several of them I’m really proud of (and already gotten a couple published!).

3 short stories ~ Since writing fiction is a new genre to me, I’m super-excited to say that I’ve already started to be able to generate some. While they still seem very far from complete, I did start submitting some already and have already received two encouraging rejections (woo hoo!).

40+ rejections ~ Unlike some other poets, I didn’t keep up with the actual numbers. I’d write down what I sent out; once an entire batch of submissions came back or I’d already gone through and withdrawn a work from several places, I’d throw away the sheet of paper. For next year, I’ll think about writing this down more precisely. It might be fun (or horribly horribly painful) to see how the “numbers game” really worked.

6 acceptances ~ Since my first publication EVER was in Spring 2010, I’m incredibly grateful to have been accepted this much thus far. Submitting is a numbers game in and of itself. We all need to submit and submit regularly. I’m also really excited about potentially using one of this editor from Gulf Coast‘s suggestions: putting up a map and anytime my work is accepted for publication, putting a pin in the city where the journal is from. Trying to think of submitting as a game by trying to get published in a journal from a certain state or city, etc.

1 manuscript ~ While I can’t say I wrote the whole thing this year or anything, I revised and organized a major manuscript of poems. To me, a pretty astounding accomplishment.

1 issue of The Pinch ~ The Spring 2012 issue was finalized early December and sent off to the printer immediately after. Working for a literary journal is invaluable experience, and I’m so proud of the issue I got to help put together. I had an amazing staff, and we were lucky to publish great interviews, poetry, fiction, and CNF from authors like Will Boast, Marge Piercy, Lee Sharkey, Scott Nadelson, and several great pieces from newbies. I talk about my closing thoughts about this experience here.

15+ hours per week ~ my average time drafting, revising, submitting, reading, and blogging.  Slightly lower in the summer (structure works wonders on me).


Things I need to do in 2012:

1. Submit more hard copy submissions. ~ I am lazy, I have to admit. I will gladly submit to journals that take online submissions all day long , but when it comes to printing something out and mailing it, I usually only send out to a handful of journals once a year. This has also held me back when it comes to submitting to some of my dream journals since several of them only accept hard copy submissions.

2. Keep a more accurate log of submissions and rejections. ~ I get lazy, so sometimes I rely too much on the e-mails I get from journals. I had no mishaps thankfully with forgetting to withdraw a piece from a certain journal and them wanting a poem that had already been accepted elsewhere, but still, preciseness is important.

3. Continue to be enriched by the process. Writing is hard. Not only that, submitting and getting published are hard too! The best thing for me to do is stay focused on my next step in the journey, instead of the destination.


Hope you all do your own little numbers game, and have some hope going into this new year!



4 thoughts on “The Numbers

  1. Thanks for sharing your numbers and your process. I find it all fascinating. I do love the “pin in the map” game. Also, try this: the alphabet game. Alphabetize all of the journals and try to place something in at least one journal for every letter of the alphabet. Wheee!

    Congrats on your accomplishments in 2011 and good luck in 2012.

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