I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions, but I do tend to set goals for myself when it comes to writing. My first published poems appeared on January 1, 2016, and I kept up a steady stream of submissions throughout the year that slowed somewhat when I began teaching middle school English (actually, a lot of things stopped then). I hope I’m on more solid footing now going into the second half of the year and that I’ll make time to write and submit. I can’t control the publishing aspect, of course, but I can put my poems out there and hope they find good homes.
I received an encouraging personal rejection email the other day from Boxcar Poetry Review that read, in part:
Please keep writing, keep sending work out there, keep finding ways to build empathy and connections with others. While we’re passing on these particular poems, somewhere out there in 2017, someone needs your voice and your poems.
I learned long ago to view personal rejections as incredibly encouraging. The editor of Boxcar didn’t have to take the time to send anything except the standard rejection, but he chose to type a few words to me. I take these words to heart, and I believe them. There is, in fact, someone who needs my voice and poems, the same as I need fellow voices and poems.
I submitted to three markets yesterday, and today I hope to submit to at least one more and make some time to write. There are always a few voices buzzing in my head that make it to paper (or screen) and a few of them go on this site, a few are filled away, and some take deep breaths and fling themselves into the world of submissions. It’s the way of the writer, and I plan to continue throughout 2017.
My goal for this year is simple: keep writing and submitting when I can. I’m going back to a system that worked well for me before, which consists of me writing throughout the week and then taking Saturday morning to look everything over and decided what to do with various poems. Keeping an eye on the market and certain journals, to say nothing of revision and final edits, is time-consuming but worth it.
I wish my fellow writers a prosperous New Year. Let’s get our words out there.