Keeping track


A regular part of the writing life has little to do with creativity unless you just love dates and spread sheets. Common sense and polite communication demand that I keep track of poetry that has been offered to the editors of a publication. Said editors are busy people and the mail just flows in, either on paper or online. They often take weeks, even months, to read and accept or reject a submission. So, in order not to look like an airhead, I avoid sending the same work to an editor who has either lost or declined my work. I keep records.

            When a batch of poems goes to Editor A, I make a note in a spreadsheet as to where that batch went and what date I sent it off. There are times when I never hear back, so I guesstimate that the work has not found a home and is available for a try elsewhere. And yes, I use a spreadsheet, each poem with its title, where and when it left my possession and if rejected, that rejection goes to the discard list. Boring? Yup, but necessary. And hello! When the poem is accepted, it goes into a notebook with the name of the publication and the approximate date. If I’m lucky enough to publish another collection, I can then thank those publications that published my work.

            I do not like this aspect of my writing life, but I like less the embarrassment of sending back to an editor work that has been previously declined, and I love recognizing the wonderful editors who say yes. Good manners never hurt.


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