Monday, December 31, 2012

2012: a tale of 100 submissions

I am a compulsive to-do list maker so it’s no surprise that as one year comes to a close and another makes its presence known I am sucked in with list making, spreadsheet formatting, and resolution drafting.

I treat this time of year not as a time to plot unrealistic fantasies, but a time to reflect on what I have (or have not) accomplished in the closing year and to plan for what I wish to accomplish in the coming year. Project managers use the SMART plan (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timed) to set goals that can become a reality. I tend to follow this as I have proven to myself that it works. Or, at least, it works enough to keep up the game every year, and every other time I feel the need to reconsider my goals—which happens at least twice per year.

We writers do not always have instant gratification on our side. We often don’t even know if a completed project will find success beyond the (major) accomplishment of completing said project. We can wait. We can wonder. But once a project is out of our hands, it is out of control. So I focus on what I and I alone can control and set my goals as such. That way, I am accountable for what I do (or don’t do) and can celebrate on my terms.

For example, I truly wanted to increase the number of my submissions to journals this year. The year earlier had been particularly busy, so 2012 was my year to improve that and I aimed to end the year on a better note. I did. The goal I set was to send out 100 submissions to journals. This seemed like a massive number compared to 2011’s sad dozen. Yet I wasn’t willing to make simultaneous subs, either, just for the sake of letting the numbers add up more quickly. I wanted to be selective, too.

There’s a funny thing, though, about wanting to do something and making it happen. In between those moments, the work must be done. When March rolled around and I had one lonely submission out there (thanks to a hectic start of the year), I knew it was time to step it up. So I did. And between March 8 and Dec 16, I made my goal. Had I submitted more in the latter part of December, I would have trumped those numbers, but… that’s a goal for next year, now, isn’t it?

In the end, for 2012, here is what resulted from that one goal:
100 journal submissions (poetry, short stories, and creative nonfiction)
11 have been accepted to date
22 have not yet received a response
67 received rejections

Do the rejections bum me out? Not in the slightest. Those rejections are proof that I fulfilled my end of the bargain. 67 rejections means I sent my work out there. Rejections are inevitable and are what fill in the gap between those other wonderful numbers: 11 new acceptances for the year and 22 potential pieces of good news yet to come in the New Year. I’ll take it.

Notice, too, I have only referred to submissions made to journals.

As it stands right now, I also have 3 book-length manuscripts sitting on the desks of editors…. for which I have not yet heard back about, but can hope good news will come in 2013.

So, I could
a) sit on my duff for the next year and await responses from 3 books and 22 journal submissions and still feel like I have work out there and am doing something, or
b) do the realistic thing and that is to submit more, again, and keep doing what I’m doing, what we all do. We write. We submit. We set and accomplish our goals and hope for the best with what’s no longer in our control. 

May you all have many, many rejections in 2013. Because that will mean you are doing your job. That will mean you have done the work, taken a chance, and probably have at least one reason to celebrate your successes. 

Happy New Year and best wishes for 2013.

p.s. If you haven’t already, please do check out my revamped website (which was also a goal for 2o12). Next up? Improving and renovating this blog!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Riots, a Suitcase, a Field Guide and more

I’m shamefully behind in updating my website but want to share a few recent publications.

The Iowa Review
Review of Danielle Cadena Deulen's award-winning memoir, The Riots. Read here

Passages North
My 'writing life' essay, “Out of a Suitcase and Into the Vortex.” Read here.

New Orleans Review
Review of The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Nonfiction, edited by Dinty W. Moore. Read here.

The Review Review
I talk about Issue 29 of Salt Hill journal. Read here.

Pirene's Fountain
I have a poem, “Drinks Among Friends,” in the beverage anthology. Read here. 

But, wait! There's more...
Stay tuned for new essays and reviews forthcoming in The Colorado Review, Brevity, The Toronto Review of Books, and Los Angeles Review.

Thanks for reading and sharing links!

(Website to be updated soon.... I’m busy wrapping up edits on a personal essay collection and shopping a new full-length poetry collection. Phew!)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Solstice MFA new Pedagogy Track

I’ve just received details regarding the new Pedagogy Track available in the Solstice MFA program at Pine Manor College. Have a look at the details below and if you have any questions, visit the program website

Solstice MFA in Creative Writing Program
of Pine Manor College


Students interested in teaching at the college level post-graduation can opt for the Solstice MFA Program’s newly revised Applied Track in Pedagogy. Those who wish to undertake this applied track will commit to a related internship in semester three and—over the course of the two-year program—participate in four class units that address the essentials of classroom practice.

These units—scheduled as two-hour CC&T courses—will be structured around college composition, as teaching this course is the position most likely to be offered to MFA graduates by colleges and universities. The units will be offered on a rotating basis, one per residency; they may be taken in any order. 


1. Pedagogy

Unit Topic: Current approaches to teaching composition.
Follow up readings: Philosophy and research that underlie approaches.

2. Course Design

Unit topic: Planning instruction
Follow up readings: Development of objectives; course design

3. Assessment

Unit topic: Assessment and grading
Follow up readings: Why do you need to assess student work? Which methods are effective in the college composition classroom? How do you mitigate subjectivity in the grading process?

4. Classroom Management

Unit topic: Issues in management of the college composition classroom
Follow up reading: Working with nontraditional students and adult learners, negotiating a mix of learning styles and abilities in the classroom; power dynamics in the college composition classroom.

For more info, visit the program website

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Review: Field Guide to Writing Flash Nonfiction

I’m pleased to have a new book review over at New Orleans Review


"What this craft guide does well is in refraining from pigeon-holing the genre by suggesting strict guidelines or definitions. Yet in freedom there remains the challenge for writers to experiment and tinker—not always for the better. After all, what is “good” flash nonfiction? In his introduction, Moore addresses the one quality that appeals to both editors and readers: “the writer’s experience of the world made small and large at the same time.” Yet how many words does that take? Two hundred? Five hundred? A thousand?"