Just a quick update on my poetry submissions, in case you’re interested – I know people often like a comparison, and while those “I’m delighted to announce…” successes are all very nice to hear about, sometimes it’s good be reassured that you’re not the only one who’s not currently delighted about anything. So, I’ve just done a 6 month audit and here’s what my submissions tracker tells me:
Magazines, waiting on:
4 poems currently out for 193 days
4 poems out for 168 days
5 poems out for 113 days
3 out for 8 days
There seems to be a long gap (no poems sent out between November and February) but that’s not entirely true, as some things were sent and returned in that time. Thanks so much to Antiphon and Ambit (among others) for your prompt responses!
Since last August I’ve had 24 poems declined by 6 magazines and 2 accepted.
Competitions: I’ve entered 11 poems in six competitions, the results of which are one 1st placed poem, one shortlisted and two sunk without trace, with the 3 remaining comps still to be judged.
On the whole I think I’ve sent out less material during this period than I’ve done in the past. I don’t have a fixed strategy, you know, such as sending a poem straight back out as soon as it’s returned. I also think I’m a bit more circumspect than I used to be.
When I first starting sending poems to magazines in early 2010, I think the first few acceptances (when they came) were like a drug – I was awash with the confidence that’s easy to have when you’re new to something. Ignorance is bliss, I suppose – and as with anything, the more you learn the more you realise the extent of that ignorance, and are humbled by it. So now I tend to sit on a poem that’s been declined, maybe go back to it a few weeks or months later, fiddle with it, wonder if it would fit another publication, sit on it a bit longer.
The other day I spent the evening filing – although I keep everything on the computer I do print poems off when I send them somewhere, or read them at an event. I’ve decided to archive a huge number of poems – the ones that never lived up to my own assessment of their merit – and I’m aiming to keep the “working on / not out at the moment” pile small. Instead of endless tweaking, I’m focusing more on writing new material. I’ve basically let go of a lot of stuff. It makes it easier to look forward rather than back, and for me at least that’s important, as is a belief that the best work is yet to come. Do you agree? Any thoughts?