Bookingit

Booking It: A Quest for Publication - Part 4: American Hustle

Jul. 13, 2016 | Jeremy Benson

Image: Jeremy Benson

 

Booking It is a 12-part weblog detailing the work of trying to publish a book of poems by an established publisher by April 2017. Read part 1 here, part 2 here, and 3 here.

Housekeeping

I got a couple leads on some potential publishers and magazines to submit manuscripts and individual poems to—one of which was introduced to me at the Napa Bookmine by local writer Kara Vernor, who had a chapbook of flash fiction published by Split Lip Press, a name I found to be serendipitous: the last few summers I’ve exchanged poems with a group of poets who call themselves the Broken Nose Collective. Yes, I think I’d like to duke it out with Split Lip.

I’ve also been following NewPages.com’s classified list of calls for submissions. I’ve had success submitting poems to magazines advertising with them in the past. And I figure, the more the better!

Homework

The fight for me continues to be a struggle to motivate and make time for my writing, revising, and submitting. I think this is a struggle most of us amateur creators deal with. We have our main hustle, which keeps us fed and keeps us housed, and when our shift ends, we’re called by the muse to do this other thing.

But we’re also called by our friends, who want us to come out wine tasting, and we’re called by our families to t-ball games and picnics in the park. Our minds are called to rest in front of screens, our souls are called to react and respond to the world around us, and our bodies are ultimately called to lie still and silent for as long as they possibly can before the sun calls us up again.

The Bustle to your Hustle

There’s a lot. There’s a lot I want to do from day to day. A lot that fulfills my creative drive and my social animal. But I want to do this, too.

It used to be easy for me. But I was a student then, paying to get a grade for my writing. And after that, I was a part-time hustler, without much of a social life to speak of. Writing was full-time, it was all I had.

Now, like sleep, and healthy food, my artistic craft has become such a given that it often gets dropped from the itinerary. “Oh, I can’t go out with my friends and write this poem; I’ll do it tomorrow,” he says again.

A question for you: How do you guard your creative time? What do you do to motivate yourself? How do you rearrange your priorities in order to fit it all in—what gets moved to the bottom?

Every Day I’m Shuffling

I want to move my writing back to a place of importance. I’ve outlined some adjustments that might help:

-Substitute watching television with reading more books. I’m a better, more habitual writer when I’m a better, more habitual reader.

-Cut out Facebook. Frankly? Frankly, I don’t need to know what the girl who sat three rows behind me in 7 th grade world history had for breakfast…and lunch…and dinner…and dessert. (Can I get a rebate on any of that spent time?)

-Make revising and submitting into social occasions. In the past it has been so helpful to have people working on their poems in the same room; we chat, we commiserate, we ask each other last-minute revision questions.

-Say no. My friends are not going to stop liking me if I say, “Not tonight, I’d like to get some writing done.” If they do, who cares, amirite?

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