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Accepted!!

How I feel right now:
Now where’s my ocean and pretty sunset?

While also being the name of one of my favorite comedy films, today I can announce that after three years of submitting my work I have been accepted in a journal! I want to say a MASSIVE thank you to Chantwood Magazine for accepting my poem “To Inari” for their 12th issue, just published today. You can go here to find this issue (and past issues) on their website.

I received the acceptance offer from the magazine just before the year rolled over to 2018. That was an awesome way to tie up an otherwise rather stressful year.

It also feels really special for this to be the poem accepted out of everything I sent out last year. It’s one of the ones dearest to my heart and has a whole lot of me mixed into the batter. In fact it’s the first poem I wrote when I sat down to begin the collection I have in mind. It’s a poem in which I definitely tried to sound like no one else but myself. So it feels really, really good to see someone else believe in it too.

I first started submitting my work toward the end of college (2009-10), but it was rather sparsely done and kind of half-heartedly. I still had my mind on being a great fantasy novelist so poetry was just a side thing I did only when the urge really gripped me. I tried submitting again in 2012-13, but again only a few things here and there. I still wasn’t very focused on writing poetry just yet.

I didn’t really start submitting my work until 2015, and only got truly serious about it in 2017, when I finally gave in with my whole brain and said to myself, “Okay, you’re a poet, let’s do this.”

My only real goal for 2018 is to write more, submit more, and dedicate myself to poetry more; that includes my own, reading the work of others, and trying to be a bit more a part of the ‘community’, either online or otherwise. I’m not entirely sure where poetry is taking me, that’s what this blog is around to document, but I think I’ve committed myself to the ride.

I’m starting 2018 with a publication. I’m thrilled and ever so grateful. My hopeful goal is to see at least one more publication credit happen this year, but that is out of my hands, so instead I’m going to do my best to write, write some more, and submit, submit, submit…

*Photo by user jill111 at Pixabay, creative commons usage

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All the Things I’m Not

This post has sat in my drafts for over a year while I’ve thought about whether or not to post it. It’s been rewritten and tweaked multiple times, but I think it is time.

Let’s have a discussion. (Long post ahead.)

I am not a teacher. I don’t work for education. I don’t edit a literary journal. I have no writing degree, graduate or otherwise. And yet I am a poet.

I write this because it seems like nearly all of the poet blogs, poet bios, and poet anything I see about poets mentions at least one of those things. Teaching, editing, and fancy degrees. And these are all noble things. I am thankful to teachers and editors. We need them. Degrees of higher learning can be very beneficial. But they do not define the making of a poet.

Poetry is a notoriously low (or nearly no) paying job. There is no harm or shame in keeping a day job when you are a writer of any kind. Only the lucky few get to have “making up words” as their only job. Having a day job that has nothing to do with the written word does not discredit the writer. Having a degree in something other than language or writing, or even no degree at all, does not discredit the writer. And yet, it is easy to feel like it does. Continue reading

Submissions and a Collection: A Poetry Headache

I last mentioned where I was at in writing my first poetry collection about five months ago with this post. I’m still very much in the early stages. Where do the early stages end, anyway? I figure there will just come a point when I look around me and go, “Yeah, I’m in this one deep.” I’m not quite there yet.

(I’m laughing at the me that once said “I’ll make sure to spend at least a year on this so as not to rush it.” Oh you sweet, summer child.)

I’ve been doing a lot of reading this summer, which means not as much writing. After trying to juggle both for several years and failing at getting much read OR written I finally figured out that the best possible thing I can do is work hard on writing for a month or two, then switch to spending all that time on reading for a month or two. It keeps me from getting burned out on the blank page, it helps refill my brain when I’m starting to feel emptied of ideas, and it means that I get to more thoroughly enjoy reading and writing when not doing them together at the same rate. This is, at least, the system that works best for me. (For now.)

The time I have given to writing this summer has been productive… technically. Meaning I know it has been productive. I have the notes and pages that tell me this. But when it comes to finished content? Very, very little.

Nothing wants to wrap up for me. There’s a particular piece I’ve been working at rather hard that I finished back in July. Sort of. It reads in finished style, but the rhyme and meter is all wrong for not only what is in my head but also how the collection has begun to develop. It doesn’t fit. So I put it away for 2 months, let my mind clear some, and have been at it again this last week only to find Continue reading

A Few Days of Crippling Self-Doubt

Writers (and other creative people) have this thing where we usually doubt ourselves. A lot. I can’t even quite explain to someone who doesn’t fight with this just how much we doubt.

This is me. Except, you know, without the book deal to soften the feelings.

I love Debbie Ridpath Ohi’s work. SO MUCH. Everyone should be reading her stuff. (Click on the comic and it will take you over to her site.)

My confidence in being a writer and in trying to become a well-published writer has its hills and valleys. There’s pretty much always a quiet voice in the back of my mind that asks me what I think I’m doing. Couldn’t my time be spent on something with a more guaranteed outcome? Like theoretical physics?

About a week ago that voice got really, really loud. Continue reading

Thoughts on Rejection

We are now over the hump of the first half of the year and this is right about the time I’d love to be announcing “Guess what? I had work accepted for publication!!” Unfortunately… that’s not the case. And it’s awful easy to feel down about it.

Some rejections I expected. Big publications that accept a very small volume of work. But hey, pie in the sky, right? The answer is always no if they don’t even see your work.

Other rejections I had hoped not to see, felt like I had a better chance of finding placement, but in the end it was not to be. Once again… small volume of work accepted. Maybe I just wasn’t a good fit for the editor.

But at the same time my feelings on the matter are still bolstered this year. Continue reading

Creative Balance & the Message in a Bottle

Happy New Year! I assume by now everyone’s parties are over and day-to-day life is meandering along again as per usual (now that we’re nearly to the end of January). I’ve finally managed to stop writing 2015 on everything, but now I find myself writing 2017 or 2019 instead. No, I haven’t the slightest clue why I’ve skipped to those years.

Did you make any resolutions? I stopped making resolutions a few years ago when I realized I was turning them into a source of stress, worry, and yet another reason to feel not good enough when I fail. Now I write a pie-in-the-sky list of everything I’d like to accomplish. Each individual item is something that can be completed by year’s end, but the entire list as a unit, realistically, cannot.

Surprisingly this does not set me up for failure. Instead it ensures that I don’t forget about any of my projects unless I willfully choose to give up on them. It’s a focus list to keep me moving in the direction I want. If I reach the end of the year with a shorter list than I began it has been a productive year. I focus on ending each year productive in general rather than qualifying how productive it may have been.

There are several things I am focusing on this year, but perhaps the most important to me is what I am calling “creative balance”. Continue reading

Becoming a Published Poet – The Evolution of a Writer: The Middle Years

Today I have a long post on the Rabid Rainbow Ferret Society blog. I’m the middle post in a series known as “The Middle Years,” and I hope you’ll check out my post as well as the other ones already up. Stay tuned for two more weeks and we’ll finish out the series!

The Rabid Rainbow Ferret Society

In my early years I was a novelist. That’s exactly how confused I was. To think I dreamed of banging out 100,000 words on the keyboard when today a solid piece of work might not even break the 100 mark.

(I still have ideas. Notions. Inklings… maybe one day I’ll return to playing with the “big stories”.)

The Evolution of Becoming a Writer 3

Noveling actually taught me, by accident, that I was a poet.

My early years as a poet consisted of a few key points:

  • Entering every contest I could find that I thought I could “win big” at and preferably cost less than $30 to enter
  • Thinking up all of the amazing titles I could use for future poetry collections (I have whole lists in some of my poetry journals)
  • Writing only when the mood, the air, the sunlight, the whatever seemed conducive for poetry
  • Figuring out what exactly qualifies as “real poetry” (Hint…

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Why I Don’t Publish My Poetry on My Blog

This is something I have been asked many times in person, even if so far it has not yet come up on the blog itself.

“Why don’t you publish your work on your blog? Don’t you want people to read it?”

Of course I want people to read it. I want that very, very much. But there is the very sticky issue of “previously published work” to deal with.

Right now I am working to find a place for my poetry in literary journals, both online and in print. Later, I hope to work toward a chapbook or a full-length collection. Publishers of books often don’t mind terribly if some of the poems they are publishing in a book first appeared in journals. It’s a combination of having a resume of your work as well as knowing that the readers of those journals have already seen your name, which might help in marketing. But publishers of journals, in most cases, want to be the first to show off your work. Many journals pride themselves on providing content never-before-seen. If a reader could go online to a blog or read a social media post and get the same content, why would they read or subscribe to a literary journal?

So unfortunately you will not see my work published here. This blog is for my musings on the process of writing and the process of publication, as well as other things that catch my fancy, both literary-related and not.

If at any time you would like to see where you can find my work, the Publications page will always be kept updated. For print journals and anthologies it will link you to a location to purchase that particular edition. For online journals and anthologies, you will find a link directly to my work or to the home page for that issue.

I hope this clears up for anyone wondering why I never post poetry. With any luck, the Publications page on this blog will continue to grow and you can find me there!

Down the Submission Rabbit Hole

I made two promises to myself this year after taking the vast majority of last year “off” from creative pursuits due to a host of reasons, including poor health and feeling totally burnt-out and lost.

The first is to finish at least one poem (all edits done, not just a complete draft) every month. So far I have not done this. But I didn’t decide on this goal until halfway through January and I did do work, but much of it was to gear myself and my life up again to being more conducive to having the time and mindspace to write. I know this doesn’t sound like an impressive goal compared to so many poets out there, but its purpose is to create consistency in my creative life. I would like to finish 30-40 things this year, but realistically I am aiming for just one a month.

The second promise was to stop shelling out money to contests and start answering open submissions instead. (There are a small handful of contests I do still enter, but we’ll save that for another post.) Continue reading