Sending Work Out into the World (or Not Doing That at All!)

Happiness is Submission to God...zilla

That above photo made me smile.  Submission to God, or Godzilla, or literary journals, I'm not submitting anywhere these days!  In fact, I was looking over my "Days Since" calendar and it's been 81 days since I've submitted a poem.  Good one.

I know that submitting one's work is part of the job, but I'm lazy at it and can be a perfectionist.  I said I hadn't been submitting because I didn't really have any good poems to send out.  Okay, that's fair-- we don't want to display all our half-finished coloring pages, but it's more than that.  I have gotten to a point where I really dislike submitting and I've become lazy about it.

If you are reading this as a writer looking for advice, I advise you not to follow my example.

Submitting your work is part of the job of a writer.  Longer prose work to an agent.  Shorter pieces to literary journals.

So what's my problem?

I've basically just put it off and allowed myself to be unaccountable for that aspect of my writing life.  Basically, I like writing more than submitting, so I've written, but haven't sent anything out.

I need to.  I connect by email with two other writers and each week (though we've been sloppier about it this year) we mail out our weekly goals.

I will put on my goals that I will send my poems out to two places next week. This is the time of year to be sending out your poems, sort of like adding seeds to the garden so you'll have flowers blooming in a few months.

So where have you submitted recently?  Any good news?

I'd love to hear and be inspired by what you've done...


  1. Since my chap book came out, I've really fallen off the submission wagon too.

    I would love for you to submit to "Poetry for the Masses."

  2. Kelli!!! This is simply unacceptable! The world needs to read your work!

    Start here:

    Don't think, just send.

  3. I've been diligent about getting my chapbook out to various contests, but October has been a very busy month, so I've only submitted two individual poems this month. I mean to remedy that this weekend!

  4. I balance submissions between online and print journals, and since I teach middle school, I try to submit work in chunks: Late Spring/Summer, Thanksgiving break, and Spring Break. I have a rule that I always need to have one set of poems out somewhere - manuscripts don't count.

  5. (Don't mind me...I'm just over here in the corner copying down these two sites and promising myself envelopes and stamps after the weekend... thank you! 8^) )

  6. Oh Kelli- it's on my list too. But I too have just not been in to the process lately. It almost feels like going to confession, now. And I am going to have a lot of sins .. . . :)

  7. I've recently read posts from some writers who have set a goal for 100 rejections from literary journals :). I love this's a fun, mind-gamey way to get ourselves to send more, more often.

    It does take so much time and effort, I so hear you. But you'll feel happy once you do it.

  8. Oh but you are doing the Godly work of the editor my beautiful friend.

    I submitted to a journal a project about class and creative writers. It's squicky to get rejected by people who ask you to submit. I submitted to 1111. Waiting to hear from both places. I had to check my submission spreadsheet to see where my stuff was. I get terrible anxious about checking my email for answers. Like 59 times a day!


  9. I like to look at acknowledgements pages for ideas from my favorite writers. I've been trying to keep out at least 100 poems at any one time, and have sent to Washington Square and DMQ, Notre Dame, Interim, Coconut, Canteen, etc. Even the rejections are good news (like the one I rec'd from jubilat today) because it frees up those poems to go somewhere else.

  10. I'm the same..... I would rather write than submit any day. But last week I sought out the support and accountability of fellow writers on this topic. My "homework" is to prepare 6 packets to send out. Somehow, I feel I will do it because my fellow writers will be waiting to hear if I did.

  11. when the brain's too blurry to compose or edit, good time to throw something out into the world, whether its ready or the world's ready or not. kind of throw it at the wall and see if it sticks busy work. this month, 2 poem submissions accepted (yay, $60) and a book review (will be paid for? not sure). inquiries out to a couple places for a chapbook and another chapbook out on rounds.

  12. (Trying this comment thing again...)

    I'm with Pearl--it's good to send poems out when you're in a writing fallow. My personal experience? For me, sending out lots brings back lots of rejections, a recent slew. (If there were an award...) But then, those moments of yes! And my recent yes moments were from JAMA and Hubbub.

  13. I have the same problem and it's been WAAAAAYYYY more than 81 days, so good on you. Getting the words down is hard sometimes, but fun, always fun! Sending it out, talking yourself up, saying, "hey! Notice me, check this out, I'm awesome!"? Not as fun. But as Joanie said, those moments of yes are worth all the slog and rejections. I'm restarting my submissions clock... NOW.

  14. The annual fall submission frenzy and I parted ways this year so I could work on a memoir. Usually, I have work out to 20-30 journals (1-2 usually say yes). This year, less than 10. I find myself much happier as a result! The minute submitting feels like a job it's time to take a break.


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