I Also Need a Theme

Since I finished my manuscript, I’ve been literarily adrift about what to write. It would help if I had a theme–I just can’t think of one good enough to sustain my interest.

My writing group’s current theme is the Zodiac, and I can’t tell you how uniteresting the Zodiac becomes when one has to sit down and write a poem based on what sign we’re currently in.  Part of that has to be because in general, I don’t give much thought to the Zodiac.  Maybe the Chinese Zodiac would have been a better topic–at least that’s full of animals, and writing about animals can be a good prompt.  Sure, sure, the general Zodiac has a few animals–Pisces, Aries, Taurus, Leo, maybe a few more I’m not thinking about, but those are much later in the year–well, not Pisces, that’s what we’re in right now.  But what do I have to say about a fish?  I’m not Marianne Moore.

A book of writing prompts could be useful, but I am not often happy with what I produce when I use them.  Not to mention, writing prompts generate many disparate kinds of poems without a central theme… and it’s the theme I am looking for.  After all, I have to find the next focus so I can start on the next book.  I would really prefer it doesn’t take me another four years to write one (like it took me to write this one).

Still, if any of you out there reading this have any suggestions of good writing prompt-y kinds of books, could you leave me a comment?

I Need a Hit

I’m jonesing–yes, jonesing–for an acceptance.  For the last few months, it seems like I was getting an acceptance every other week or so, and it’s been 15 days since my last acceptance (a piece of flash non-fiction).  True, it’s been only 3 days since a rejection, and really, I should be grateful for that, because it means that even if the journal didn’t like what I sent them, at least they read it.  That should count for something, right?

Let’s be honest–the “hit” I want… is for someone to tell me they want to publish my book.  And that it will be a great hit with the publishing world.  That it will get a Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, a National Book Award, Georgia Book of the Year Award, and various other accolades that proves that all the time I spent working on it wasn’t time wasted.  It’s hard waiting to hear back from book contests.  I want to know NOW.

So while I’m waiting more or less reasonably patiently about the book, I feel like every journal I have stuff out at should just agree to publish my work to make my wait more tolerable.  What do you think?  Seems fair, right?  😉

And again, I hope your writing and publishing are going well.  (I know we writers are all in this together.)


Keeping Track

I haven’t been a publishing machine in the months since last I wrote.  That said, I have been writing and sending my work out with the rigor that I should have been applying myself yea these many years.

To wit:

  • Submitted my book manuscript to 18 contests (so far, 3 rejections)
  • Submitted poetry to 14 journals (so far, 7 rejections)
  • Submitted an application to a fellowship
  • Submitted a play to a journal
  • Submitted creative nonfiction to 3 journals (one journal took a story 2 days after I submitted it!)
  • Submitted flash/ fiction to 5 journals

Every time I open up Submittable and I see all my active submissions, I feel a little self-impressed.  Which is not the worst thing.  I need all the encouragement I can get, because the last few rejections have really bummed me out.  (Especially the one I got on Friday which just infuriated me… unfortunately I can’t go into it because there’s no way to be anonymous regarding the journal and say what I REALLY want to say about them.)

What I really need to do is to get some quiet time and try writing something unusual, something hybridy, maybe.  What that would be, I couldn’t say.  Maybe tomorrow…

Anyway, I’m reveling in my dedication.  And I didn’t post this so that I could be all “look at me, look at me,” but just to remind myself that I can make writing a priority, and that it’s good for me.  And, to have a record of it, for when I’m feeling kind of down about my writing successes, or I reach a dry spell.

I hope all of you are having good luck in your writing too.