It’s funny, before I started this 30 submissions in 30 days challenge, I found it very difficult to find the time to submit regularly because it’s not just a matter of attaching a Word doc to an email and clicking send.
First you have to find the magazines, publishers or literary agents, then you have to do a bit of research to ensure that your style is a good fit for them, then you must follow their submission guidelines exactly (hell hath no fury like a literary professional’s instructions ignored). Depending on several factors (like whether you already have a list of places to submit to or whether you’ve been drinking heavily enough to make focusing your eyes impossible), it could take up to a couple hours each time.
But since I started this challenge, not only have I magically had the time to do this each day, I’ve also had the time to blog about it. Go figure. Anyone who doesn’t believe in miracles has clearly never made it from mid-Los Angeles to LAX airport during rush-hour traffic in 20 minutes.
And the best part of this challenge? I have something to be enthusiastic about. <points to Einstein quote above> After more years than I care to admit of unenthusiastically waking up each morning, I am delighted to go to bed every night like a kid on Christmas Eve. "Ooh," I whisper to myself as I snuggle under the duvet. "What will I send tomorrow and where will I send it?" Maybe it's just the newness of it, and this hope that shimmers like a pair of freshly shined shoes will dim after a week or so of skipping through the dusty streets. Still, in this moment right here, right now, I'm in love with hope and possibility.
One last thought on this subject. I have been making a living from writing and editing for about a year and a half now. No slinging caffeine to an overcrowded coffee shop full of addicts, no showing up with robot-like regularity at an office. Just earning cash as a freelancer doing what I love. So why was I unenthusiastically arising each day? I told myself that I was writing, but it was content writing, copywriting, and editing bad writing. I wasn't creatively writing. And that's where my soul lives and breathes. And if your life is not in alignment with your soul's desires, you might as well check yourself into the laughing academy. Ok, that's enough about that for now. <steps down off podium>
Today I sent my short story My Private Sanctuary to Amazon’s literary journal, Day One, of all places. It was only after I hit ‘send’ that I realized their lit mag was for Kindle only. Ah well, live and learn. That’s the thing about doing a 30 submissions in 30 days challenge: because you have to keep up the momentum, there’s not a lot of time for over-speculation, wild internal debates, or perfectionism. You find a place to submit your work, and unless it’s obviously inappropriate, you just send it. Not all the literary journals are The New Yorker, not all the publishers are Random House. But my goal is to send my work out every day, not to send my work out perfectly every day. So sometimes you wind up submitting a story to a Kindle-only literary journal from an e-commerce retailer.
By the way, My Private Sanctuary is about a woman who learns that she is dying on the same day that her husband requests a divorce and it is only then that she is finally able to open up to him.