Years ago, many years ago, I graduated with an MFA and at our last day, just before the faculty handed out diplomas, our class met for what was a conversation about “po biz.” We were urged to participate in all the poetry readings we could find, submit our work everywhere, and always apply for grants, even the big ones. This was the less creative part of our future, but one that faculty endorsed, no, insisted.
Like a good kid, I’ve taken some of that advice, but I have to say, it’s not fun. Tracking submissions, meeting deadlines, budgeting fees, joining writing groups, leading writing groups, teaching freshman English as a full-time job, I’ve done all of this and still do, except for the teaching. I gave that up because I like to eat, live in a decent house, travel occasionally, all of which costs money. I do keep spread sheets for tracking submissions, I do attend local poetry readings, and gladly share my work with other writers, in person, and online. As necessary as much of the office work is, it’s not what keeps me writing. My writing happens despite this bookkeeping. Writing is a gift and I like sharing it.