Sending Out Sanely

by Lynn Wagner

While Lighthousers are munching donuts this Saturday for Willfully Submit (10:30 AM on 2/22). I'll be chatting you up to Send Out Sanely. It's February, if you have made a resolution to send out your stuff, it's time to be willful about it and head on over to Lighthouse.

Personally, things have been a lot better for me since I calmed down and became committed. I started sending poems out again this summer and a) it was easy, since it had been so long I knew I didn't have to wait for any journals to return previous submissions, and b) my mind was more at ease because I became a little better at the psychology of sending out. (I'm a slow learner.)

I had some good luck, like, having to write multiple journals multiple  times to take back poems that had been accepted, but more importantly I adopted a better attitude.

So if you're warming up for Willfully Submit, here are a number of links to what I won't be spending a lot of time on:

  • A tour of Duotrope. Hey, they charge a subscription now. There is trial period, but you can ask questions or revisit a tour I gave in 2012 at another Willfully Submit here.
  • Alternate methods of tracking your submissions, like a handy spreadsheet.

I've been collecting some fine resources. Here they are to get you started:

Both Ploughshares and The Review Review have good articles on topics like cover letters and why you should send out. Becky Tuck gathers info on how editors and others go about sending out. Make sure you look to the right on that page in The Review Review for more tips, such as advice on finding the journal that's right for you.

But that's all the active part of willfully submitting. Let's talk about what happens before: the mindset to take on and the attitude and recovery when the rejections come (which they famously do for even the most famous).

Brevity_form-rejection-decoder-thingyYes, Brevity magazine has created The Form Rejection Letter Decoder Thingy [hint: you made one of these in 4th grade].  There's even the Rejection Letter Wiki where you can compare your form refusals to hopeful form refusals.  But let's begin with ourselves: as writers, as people who send out sanely.