This past weekend, I decided it was time to submit to some changes in the way I have been submitting.
Submitting manuscripts, that is.
I have sent out a full-length collection of poetry, my second manuscript of over 60 poems, for three or four years now and the time has come to re-assess. On the spur of the moment Saturday I sent out a chapbook-length collection of poems in a completely different vein, on another topic.
Sometimes, a writer just needs to shake things up, shift direction–whether she wants to or not. It is far too easy to get comfortable in a routine (in this case, easy to send the same manuscript file through various online submission portals, at regular intervals depending upon motivation and spare time). Submittable has become the most common software portal for submissions in the poetry world; but I recall vividly the days when I had to print everything out and photocopy the manuscript, then send it by postal mail to each prospective publisher.
So everything shifts, and we adjust.
Alas, The Red Queen Hypothesis and other poems has had no takers. Maybe I need to tear the manuscript apart, rearrange and update it. Maybe the poems just are not as strong as I thought they were, even though more than half of them have been published individually; maybe there is simply no audience for that particular collection of poetry.
I do not consider this giving up on the collection or on the poems in it. I merely aim to make transition, to move along to something a little different for awhile. Wake myself up to the work I have been composing more recently, concentrate on those pieces instead.
Submit to change, and make the best of that change, and allow the change to change the writer. I think I learned that in my MFA program at Goddard. 🙂
Best advice I got about my first book ms: keep sending it out, but put your heart and energy into the next project. I marketed Heathen for 5+ years, and then published it and my second book within a year of one another. Taking a hard look at your own work periodically is important–ruthless revision!–but so is persistence.
Ah, thank you. My first full-length book took seven years of persistence, and I was kind of hoping ms 2 would be a shorter slog. Some chapbooks came out in the meantime, so I guess I am taking the same kind of path as last time. (Maybe there is no other path)
[…] Shifts are necessary now and again. Here are a some I am undergoing. […]