Reader, it’s been all about the legwork so far this week. Legwork as in: n. “work or research involving extensive walking or traveling about, usually away from one’s office, as in gathering data for a book, a legal actions, etc.” No, I haven’t been pounding the pavement, but I’ve been traveling about the Internet looking at submissions guidelines, sample poems, and the like.
This morning I sat down with Diane Lockward’s lists of journals that read during the summer months, or some portion of the summer months (lists are here, here, and here). I clicked through and read guidelines and sample work to see which journals might be a good match for the work I have ready to go. I managed to get through the F’s before hearing the pitter patter of feet in the hallway and setting the list aside until tomorrow.
I’ve always found it easier to tell when my work is not right for a journal, rather than when it is, or might be. It’s pretty easy to read sample poems and think, Nope, not a match. But usually I end up with a handful of “no’s”, plenty of “maybes,” and very few, if any, “yes, definitelys.” Perhaps this is the nature of the beast at the beginning of the process.
Tomorrow I’ll continue making my way through the list, weeding out the definitely nots and mulling over the maybes.
I keep reminding myself that although the legwork is not the most exciting or enriching part of the writing life, it is an important task. I liken it to making my weekly menu plans and grocery lists — my most dreaded domestic chores, second only to doing the actual grocery shopping. But, the full cupboards and healthy food at the end of the whole process is worth it, as is the orderly preparation of each meal rather than a last-minute scramble for ideas and ingredients. Not that I’m above the last-minute scramble from time to time, but it’s not sustainable over the long run.
And, I remind myself, my goal is a submissions process that’s sustainable in the long run.
I carry on.