Deadlines are important. I work well with deadlines, actually. For example, this week at work, knowing that I only have Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to get everything done so that I can leave for the holiday weekend feeling good about myself and my job has kept me focused and on track…there are to-do lists and they are getting checked off. All because I’m working on a deadline. Give me an indefinite amount of time to get something done, on the other hand, and I’m a disaster. As such, I’m going to try and implement a thirty minute deadline for this blog, at least on the weekdays.
I realized the reason I was without words last night. The very fact that I have been working intently to get ready for the long holiday weekend. Like it or not, I’ve only got so much brain power to use up and when I use most of it at work I’ve got little left in the evenings for blog writing, creative writing, talking, even thinking. It’s just the nature of the beast.
I’ve had an article up on my laptop for at least a week now: “What Editors Want; A Must-Read for Writers Submitting to Literary Magazines” by Lynne Barrett, editor for The Florida Book Review. I’m not sure why it took so long to read, but I was finally able to focus enough tonight to get through it. And I’m so glad I did. Barrett describes the plight of editors…what they’re looking for in submissions, what they usually get in stead, what their days are like, what it takes to produce a literary magazine. Then she describes us writers, with a great deal of accuracy.
“You, of course, are a writer. Let’s say you are just starting to send out. You are thinking, Am I any good? Will this make people I love believe I’m worthwhile? Is that third paragraph unnecessary as R said in workshop, but I still like it, and if I keep it, and my story gets published then that will show R, but what if R is right after all? Is this my first step to fame and glory? Am I a genius? Am I in fact too good for this magazine I’m sending to or not good enough? Am I an idiot? Will my parents stop suggesting other jobs I could do given my education? Will strangers want to sleep with me because of my prose? Etc. etc.”
She goes on to say that editors are not interested in any of this. What they are interested in from us is: being professional, doing our research, keeping track of our submissions, understanding how to receive and follow-up (or not, as is more often the case), and submitting the best writing possible.
And time’s up!
If you’d like to read the article yourself, here is the link: